Blog | Children forced to meet their violent father: Italy condemned. The State still has prejudices

There ECHR – European Court of Human Rights – condemned for the seventh time (the fourth only in 2022) the Italian state for not having protected a woman victim of violence and her children. After the 2017 conviction for Talpis case on the appeal of Titti Carrano, lawyer DiRe women on the net against violence (who also got the sentence for the JL case against Italy in 2021), the Italian courts were sentenced again, and again, and again, and again, and again , it’s still.

When the long series of sentences inflicted on Italy will be broken (Talpis, VC, JL, Landi, De Giorgi, MS and now IM) because a part of the judiciary does not know (yet) read the male violence against women? Victims are not protected because of blind decrees, of inertia in the measures, of sexist prejudices in the motivations of the sentences, in short, for distrust of women who reveal violence. This time, the conviction for the violation of article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights which establishes the right to respect for private and family life, came on appeal – IM against Italy (25426/20) – of the lawyer Rossella Benedetti of Difference Donna. This is the case of a woman received at the Villa Pamphili anti-violence center. The court had ordered dating between the woman’s minor children and the father, despite the fact that he had been reported for ill-treatment and continued to have violent behavior even during visits.

The judges of the ECHR found a prejudice for women and minors: “The Italian State has failed in his duty of protection and assistance during the meetings organized with the father of the children, drug addict and alcoholic, accused of abuse and threats during the visits. The case – continues the ECHR – also concerns the decision of the Italian national courts of suspend the parental responsibility of the mother regarded as a hostile parent at the meetings with his father, as he refused to be present because of the violence committed by the man ”. The Court found that “the meetings held since 2015 have disturbed the psychological and emotional balance of the children forced to meet their fathers in conditions that did not guarantee a protective environment. Their best interest was, therefore, neglected by being forced into meetings that took place in such conditions ”.

The judges of the court of Rome, according to the ECHR, “did not carefully examine the situation of the mother and children and decided to suspend her parental authority on the basis of a alleged behavior hostile to father-child encounters and the exercise of co-parenting, without taking into account all the relevant elements of the case “and without providing” sufficient and pertinent reasons to justify the decision to suspend parental responsibility for the period between May 2016 and May 2019 ″.

Now the two children will get compensation of 30 thousand euros each by the Italian State. Once again the so-called applies two-parenting uncritically placing it in any situation, even when there is violence. If a mother opposes shared custody and encounters with the father she can be accused of hostility towards two-parenting, she can be pressured by social services, to the point of being punished because she wants protect children and find themselves suspended from parental responsibility or even declared lapsed. Women who disclose violence and ask for help from the state may find themselves in a Kafkaesque trial, especially in the courts of the north and north-east that transform them from victims into guilty and they have to undertake long, exhausting and costly legal battles to defend themselves even against Ctu – who accuse them of being alienating, impeding, malevolent, sticky, pollyannic, on the basis of imaginative definitions that re-propose the Pas (parental alienation syndrome) in different sauces.

This is in violation of Article 31 of the Istanbul Convention on the subject of custody of children, visitation rights and security which requires that incidents of violence be taken into account when determining i visitation rights and calls for the necessary legislative measures to be adopted to ensure that “the exercise of visitation or custody rights does not compromise the rights and safety of the victim or children”. The Italian institutions also have another serious shortcoming: they do not evaluate the expected risk by article 51 of the Istanbul Convention which provides that “the risk of lethality, the seriousness of the situation and the danger of recurrence” of violent behavior be taken into consideration to ensure “a coordinated framework of safety and support”.

13 years have passed since the killing of Federico Barakat during a protected visit with a violent father reported for violence and just 3 years have passed since the murder of Gloria Danho by the hand of her father who had been able to keep her with him. The dogma of dual parenthood and its precious ally, parental alienation, are the expedients that the violent use in separative paths to continue harass the former companions through the children.

Anti-violence centers have been denouncing this for a long time. This was revealed by the commission on femicide chaired by the senator Valeria Valente, the report of Grevio (the body that monitors the correct application of the Istanbul Convention) and now the ECHR also detects it now with a historic condemnation that we hope will be the beginning of a radical change that puts an end to the institutional victimization. That this sentence is not amortized and absorbed by the impassable rubber walls that are erected, without conscience, in the institutions of this country.


Blog | Children forced to meet their violent father: Italy condemned. The State still has prejudices – Il Fatto Quotidiano