In post-separation custody proceedings, the Juvenile Court now works like this: in order to safeguard double parenthood, the child is snatched from the arms of one parent (usually the caretaking one) and handed over to the parent the child refuses, imposing forced meetings, deportation to a foster home, or exclusive custody given to the one who the child does not want to stay with, completely excluding the other one. It is an incoherent and dangerous turnaround where we forget that double parenthood means guaranteeing the presence of both parents even after the separation and excluding the other only in serious cases such as domestic violence or abuse. Violating the children’s right to live a peaceful life free from trauma, it means subject them to unparalleled emotional stress.
these children are forced and not believed, while the real reasons for the refusal are not investigated, which usually concern failures or serious actions of the refused adult
On the contrary a presence is imposed on them without having thoroughly investigated the objective causes of the discomfort. The foster care proceedings the decision-making power passes from the judge’s discretion into the hands of psychologists and psychiatrists who, in their expert reports (Tecnical-legal consultancy), decide the fate of these people. Almost all of these expert reports are based on a pseudo-theory that various lobbies, also economically interested, are trying to pass into State law, as it has happened with the controversial Pillon bill that has credits for having uncovered Pandora’s box on the Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Richard Gardner and Co.
An unreliable construct, rejected by the Ministry of Health, rejected by the Supreme Court and banned both in Spain and France for the damage it has caused. It was invented in the 1980s by an American doctor, Richard Gardner, according to whom if a child rejects one parent, it’s because the other one alienates the child. It doesn’t matter if there are included any possible violence, because is certainly false and constructed in order to distance the targeted parent. A disorder that has become commonly practiced in the courts but never entered in the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), and applied by judges who probably do not know who Gardner was: a perverse man who in his books stated, among other things, that
“if a father abuses his daughter,” Gardner writes, “the fault lies with the inhibited mother who does not want to have sex with her husband and who, in order to avoid extra-familiar escapades, offers her daughter to him”
(R. Gardner, The collective hysteria of sexual abuse, ed. Quattro Venti, Urbino 2013, p. 59). The axe of parental alienation syndrome hit another mother a few days ago (there are many cases in Italy) who, after seven years of appeals, court experts, complaints, and protected meetings, received an order from the Juvenile Court deciding that her son, currently living with her, will be taken away with urgence and entrusted exclusively to the “refused” father, who will be monitored 24 hours a day by a “specialised staff”. The mother will be able to have contact with the child every 15 days in neutral spaces, adding even that, in case of difficulty, he will be placed in a foster home in order to safeguard the double parenthood. The story is actually a script we have already seen, where she leaves the partner after the birth of their child, sending him away from home (which is hers) because of the continuous conflicts that have eventually become something more, and even if the complaints for mistreatment are dismissed, she continues to be afraid.
A mother demolished step by step
In the meantime, relations become sour and the father and son relationship becomes difficult, so the court decides that the child, while remaining with his mother, who is considered suitable, must see his father on a regular basis. But the situation crashes because the child seems to be suffering, is hypertensive and does not want to go with him, and this is where the endless escalation begins: the mother’s fears about leaving the child alone, the man’s increasingly pressing request to keep the child with him, claiming overnight stays, the 17 complaints in which he accuses her of not letting him see the child, and finally the father’s appeal to the juvenile court to take away from her parental responsibility and ask for sole custody. This is an unbelievable story where, apart from the child who takes a blood pressure pill like his grandfather, all the characters move in an orchestrated way in the direction of a pre-established design, which is looking for a single scapegoat to pour all responsibility upon.
Applying all Gardner’s dictates mentioned above, for an already known ending: a mother demolished step by step as a woman, mother and wife
and a man who will be promoted to the best father in the world and who in the end will collect his “prize” without having to question practically anything about himself.
“The Official technical consultancy points out that they are two different things, as one can be at the same time a good partner and a bad parent or the same opposite”.
In a scenario seen many times before, doubts are not taken into consideration or they are even underestimated, while new flames are turned on in front of experts who, instead of containing the incandescent situation, are hostile towards the woman because, as Gardner’s supporters, are convinced that if the child does not want to go with the father is because she hinders their relationship. Without deepening the dysfunction between the father and son in an autonomous way, working on the adult to verify the real causes, they convince themselves that by removing the mother and imposing on the minor the presence of the refused parent, the situation will be solved.
A process that is not immediate but built with care, gradually until the last step, that usually ends with the forced removal of the child, while crying and rebelling, and that in this case will probably happen in a few days or in a few hours, with the Police Headquarters intervention if necessary
“Having regard to articles 333, 336 (civil code). Having regard to the opinion of the Juvenile Public Prosecutor, orders the removal of the minor from his mother and his placement with his father. Municipality X will take care of the execution together with the guardian and with the presence of a paediatrician and a psychotherapist and the possible collaboration of the Minors Office of the Police Headquarters’ staff in plain clothes”.
In the name of double parenthood, the very concept of it is thus denied and a caring mother found suitable in these years is banned, in exchange for sole custody given to a father who has not raised the child and to whom the child is not used. A story that begins when the mother first feels the discomfort of the child after the meetings alone with the father and starts to worry:
“Because the child wakes up with nightmares, after two years of sleeping on his own he has started to ask again for his mother’s presence to sleep and during the summer he had again episodes of nocturnal enuresis that had stopped after having eliminated the diaper. In addition, he no longer wants to go to school and when he wakes up in the morning his first thought is who is going to pick him up at the nursery school”.
But it is in the first Tecnical-legal consultancy of the neuropsychiatrist Marisa Malagoli Togliatti, who has a great experience on the subject, that the bases of today’s decision are laid, because already here a possible case of alienation is suspected, reported by the consultancy of part of the father:
“What was exposed by the Party-appointed Technical Consultancy regarding possible negative developments in the father/child relationship seems based upon the strength of the mother’s and maternal grandparents’ beliefs about the negativity of the father”.
A father who, according to the woman, was never very cooperative and who left his mother’s house, where he later returned, to enter into a cohabitation where the woman, in addition to working outside, had to work also at home because of her husband’s laziness. A man who, according to her, was never present with her son and who, in addition to denigrating her when she was pregnant because of her physical appearance and weight, had promised her punishment for having escaped his control, and who then persecuted her until she reported him for stalking.
Her husband denies her claims and insists that she is the cause of everything and that he believed in this life together because he loved her and had chosen her
Investigations that focus on how to resume the father-son relationship in a context in which the mother appears only hostile and never worthy of a real listening, analyses that never carefully evaluate the possibility that this refusal may simply depend on an adult who may not be able to relate with his son because of objective difficulties, given that normally a child who has a good relationship with a parent does not refuse him, indeed looks for him beyond what others, including the mother, say.
After a few years of heated conflicts, with mutual complaints including the replacement of the judge, another Tecnical-legal consultancy followed, that of Dr. Irene Petruccelli who, among other things, edited “Elements of legal and criminological psychology” (Franco Angelo publisher), in which she explains the theory of Parental Alienation Syndrome largely taking up its inventor: the already mentioned Gardner made famous by the supporters of Pas but actually little known for his writings where he extensively speaks of paedophilia.
Dr. Richard Gardner who writes: “there is good reason to believe that most, if not all, children have the capacity to reach orgasm as soon as they are born”
(R. Gardner, True and False Accusation of Child Sex Abuse, ed Creative Terapeutics, Cresskill NJ 1992, p. 15). Dr. Petruccelli, regarding this case, cuts to the chase of the matter and after the investigation she writes that
“in the light of the expert evaluations, there are currently and for the foreseeable future no conditions for maintaining a relationship between the son and the mother that instead should be immediately interrupted”.
Parental Alienation Syndrome application
And therefore, again on the basis of Gardner’s theories and putting Parental Alienation Syndrome on the same level as intra-familial abuse and violence on which there is an abundance of international literature in which this construct is never mentioned, advises the court as it follows:
“a) Immediate and urgent removal of the child from his or her maternal figure and family environment;
- b) Transfer of X to a protected juvenile facility for a period of not less than three months. The return will take place at the father’s home;
- c) Suspension of all contact between mother and child for a period of three months. Subsequently, it is preferable to restore only telephone contact with the child (supervised by Mr X for another three months.) After six months, possibly assess the possibility of gradually restoring the relationship, even physical, with the mother. The mother-child approach (at a public or private center) should happen through a specific psychological program decided by Mr. X in the sole interest of the child;
- d) Super exclusive custody to Mr. X with which, ex Art 337 – quarterc. it is intended that also the decisions of greater interest are delegated to the custodial parent”.
A decree that falls upon a child who is very good at school and that the same social services did not consider necessary to remove from home and the environment where he grew up “because he is well integrated”, and who had a passion for basketball: a sport that he had been attending for three years and that his tutor (after the court gave her parental responsibility, taking it away from his parents), suspended because it coincided with the meetings times. A child who hesitated before the protected meetings, who cried to come back home, who was able to play with his father only if gradually inserted and who sometimes expressed aggressiveness during the meetings and who, during a protected hearing, had made the judge promise that no one would ever take him away from his home, where he lives with his mother and grandparents.
A judge who had invited the woman to withdraw the complaint for stalking against her ex just to calm the “conflict” between the two because otherwise she could have lost her son as she was accused of parental alienation
A construct thanks to which fathers are never questioned, and therefore never really helped, since the male figure is not touched, at the cost of dismantling the whole world of the child, shattering affections, certainties, relationships. Ambiguous and unscientific instruments, accepted by judges who should know the origins of this fraud and who invented it, and which should be permanently expelled from the courts and not accepted and applied.
Inquiry of Luisa Betti Dakli published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della sera