According the association Terres des Hommes in 2014 more than 5.100 children have been victims of crime in Italy. In 10 years the percentage of criminal offences has grown by 87 %.
Figures are dramatic. But, within this alarming picture, there is no indication of how many charges, after the media hype has ended, end up in nothing. “Figures of crime have grown mainly because over the years the definition of abuse has expanded. That said, according my own experience, legal cases in which there is a “unequivocal proof ” are very few” says Vittorio Apolloni, president of the Documentation Center for false abuses, founded in 2001. “This does not mean that abuses do not exist, but that sentences depend more on the way in which now trials take place than on truth”. (To find out how children memory can be reshaped by adults read here.
A couple from Parma is the living witness of how justice can turn to injustice and to, well, another kind of abuse.
Under a pseudonym, they have recalled in a book, Violated nest, their story (you can buy it here).
Their nightmare began some years ago when, all of a sudden, their only 14 year old daugher was taken away from them because her father was alleged of abusing her.
For a whole year she has been living in a child care institution, with no way to contact her parents or to be contacted. Up to that moment, the couple, as everyone else is likely to do, has always blamed people with similar allegation by thinking: “If the police took their children away from that family, the parents must have done something horrible”. Later on, though they found out that justice does not always match the truth.
“Despite 700 wiretapping displaying our family as healthy and normal, until we went to the court, we had not chance to tell our version of the story. Eventually, after one year, charges have been dismissed: full acquittal, the judge stated. Our daughter could come home and try to get back the emotional balance we wanted her to enjoy. She’s fine now, has plans for the future, is in love and happy. But we won’t forget. After the full acquittal, we asked for administrative records, to read what has been claimed against us and by whom. After two years, we got nothing. The psycological reports on our child, quoted by the public prosecutor in court, had been trashed. All other documents are nowhere to be found. We are promoting a petion on the website www.nidiviolati.it so that, among other things, children can be taken away from their family only if evidences other than psychological reports exist: we want parents to have full access to all the documents by the prosecutor. The truth is that the the way allegation of child abuse are made now, which is not based on any consistent proof, has created a business may people take advantage of”.
To highlight to which extent false allegation might take place, in 2014 the number of people found guilty of enticement of children, an allegation for which solid evidences, and not just psychological reports are needed, amount to a total of 2.