Violence against women and parental alienation: the road that led to the birth of the Femicide Parlament Commission in Italy

How long will we continue to bear that children who report abuse, physical violence, witnessed violence, lie because they are “influenced” by false memories and therefore bearers of false abuse?

Luisa Betti Dakli
Luisa Betti Dakli
DonnexDiritti Network International Women Director

Last year the Court of Pisa enforced a decree involving the removal of a child from his home. 15 arrived, including 11 policemen. The child was screaming and crying, he barricaded himself in the bathroom and shouted: «Go away! Go away!” to the father and the social worker.

11 policemen to force a child

The curator, instead of calling a doctor to ascertain the health of the child as it was written in the decree, called 11 policemen who broke down the bathroom door, led the child out and transferred him to the foster care center which in turn delivered the child in the hands of his father whom he refused. A father who took him with him to Sicily, far from the house where he grew up, far from his mother, far from his loved ones and from his friends. The court to which the mother turned to denounce the facts has ruled his cries and screams as false, also denying the ascertainable evidence in the videos recorded by the cameras hidden inside the house while the child was forcibly taken. Cries identical to those boys and girls who, like him, sought help while they were removed from their mother: the child of Baressa, the child of Assisi, the son of Assunta, the brothers of Battipaglia, and many others.

Pas: invented and highly damaging theory

How much longer do we have to endure this serious violation of human rights based on the application of an invented theory, never proven, highly harmful, according to which a child who rejects one parent is manipulated by the other and therefore must be expelled from the child’s life? How long will we continue to bear that children who report abuse, physical violence, witnessed violence, lie because they are “influenced” by false memories and therefore bearers of false abuse? As long as the Italian courts will continue to tutelary non-compliant, inadequate, mistreating, violent and abusive fathers because a father is always a father and therefore has the power of life and death over his children? A real restoration of the parental authority canceled from our code but not from the minds of many people even in the institutions.

Restoration of the paterfamilias which can arrange any decision, even life or death, as in the case of femicides, since the woman and the offspring are his property and therefore, he disposes of them as he wishes with impunity

Law 54 on shared custody

Maurizio Paniz

A story, that of domestic violence and child abuse hidden through the theory of parental alienation, which begins in Italy in the 90s but which has its first important step in 2006 with the launch of the law n.54 on shared custody: a rule that already existed in our legal system with joint custody but which from that moment on becomes the diktat of two-parenting to save the poor unfortunate and bankrupted separated father. I remember very well how in 2006 in Parliament there was a compact and transversal male alignment between parties: men who were tired of paying maintenance and leaving the house to the mother of their children on which the lobby, which also aimed at something else, made its undeniable hold. A law presented by the Honorable Maurizio Paniz of Forza Italia and drawn up by and also by that lobby that over the years we have come to know as the lobby of separated fathers, those of the Pas: the Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Worried mothers and unbelieved children

Vittorio Apolloni

But the story continues, even without the law, and the lobby becomes bigger because next to separated fathers there are bigger interests: a lobby that not only helps the abusers to get their children back and stop giving money to the ex, but also exonerates pedophiles, indeed that is their specialty. Among the ranks of this lobby there are some names who exalt themselves in calling into question the condemnations of the case of the lower Modena area, or who give advice on how not to get stuck in the case of Rignano Flaminio, including Vittorio Apolloni who since the end of the ‘ 90 puts up the archive on false abuses after the son was accused of having committed sexual abuse of children in a kindergarten where he worked: charges on which he will also be convicted in the Supreme Court. But the Pas does not stop and goes on. Because it is a diabolical mechanism with which anyone can be exonerated: you mother say that I am violent? Am I a pedophile? Well, a psychologist will prove that not only is this not true but that you are making up lies and that you are a malevolent mother who sets the child up against me, manipulating it.

A game that succeeds with increasingly worried mothers and children who are not believed, but above all in a context in which domestic violence is not recognized due to prejudices, lack of training, and stereotypes that reign as we were in the Middle Ages

The case of Cittadella

Then comes the case of Cittadella. Who does not remember the images of the child being dragged by the hands and legs by his father and by the CTU psychiatrist, broadcast by “Who saw him?” on RaiTre. Another media hype that undermines the figure of the poor separated father without money and without affection, rejected by a bad and malevolent mother. The lobby, however, feels the pinch and reorganizes, its point of reference is now no longer Forza Italia, but the League to which it promises votes, many faces, because the deal has grown, as have the interests. And we come to 2019 with the 735 bill: the bill of the senator of the League, Simone Pillon, which goes further because they now want more.

Simone Pillon

He not only aims to insert the concept of parental alienation into a law, but wants to limit divorce and sanction those who do not respect both parents even in the event that the parent excluded from custody has been convicted of mistreatment and abuse. And it does so in full harmony with the ultra-Catholic movements of the extreme right in the world grouped in “Agenda Europe” for the “Restoration of the Natural Order”, as will be demonstrated by the international event of the Congress of the families of Verona in 2019 which involves the whole League with Pillon in the front row, and in which the fundamental points are reiterated: yes to the traditional family at any cost, no to women’s rights and civil rights.

Stop to ddl 735

The storm breaks out. With a year of struggles we are able to stop the 735 bill, but what they do not realize is that Pillon, in spite of himself, has also created a front on the other side that today is more than ever convinced of the absolute need to have rules precise and compulsory training on male violence against women of all the actors who compete in court. Professionals, politicians, the same Supreme Court magistrates, who have publicly sided against parental alienation, against his school of legal psychology in which that theory is instilled as the “verb”, against the practice of uncritically adopting every decision taken by a psychologist or a psychiatrist in legal matters such as that of foster care where there are more and more women who try to separate to escape from abusive husbands and who find the institutions as the most faithful allies of their own husbands.

Valeria Valente

A season that led to the birth of the Commission on femicide in the Senate chaired by Senator Valeria Valente who today, with the three excellent reports presented and voted, has finally opened Pandora’s box also at an institutional level, demonstrating the danger we are running and how much an action is needed to completely overturn the current situation which not only re-legitimizes mothers and children who seek protection, but which exposes them to an even more serious and profound violence than that which they suffered in the family.


Inquiry of Luisa Betti Dakli published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della sera



This is the english section of DonnexDiritti Network, that deals with International Human Rights matters, focusing on women and children. International Women is ran by the Journalist Luisa Betti Dakli, Human Rights Expert and DonnexDiritti Network Editor.

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