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This forum offers parents the opportunity to voice their own experiences of international parental child abduction, and related issues, and to share useful information with others in a similar situation.

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Advice about leaving Italy and coming home

by Suzy / Posted 25/07/2010 / Updated 09/08/2013

Hi, I am currently back in England for the summer but I have to return back to Italy with my small son shortly. Since I had my child things have changed; my partner has always been extremely jealous, possesive and you could even say insecure. With time he has started to put me down as a mother, partner and woman, whatever I do is not good enough. I find myself constantly criticised and insulted. I am scared to call or contact a friend without his consent or knowledge, he constantly checks my phone or email and doubts all of the things I say. I had lots of friends in England and Italy but slowly, slowly he has isolated me and even tried to do the same with my family. For a long time I was not allowed a telephone or access to an email. I have to bring our child up as his says and my opinions are not considered. This is not the only problem as his mother in particular is rather manipulative and he constantly confides in her about our problems and how we should bring our child up. Since my son was born he has not actually worked very much and has been unemployed for long periods of time while I have had to work long hours in order to provide for us. I feel very isolated and depressed while I am there in Italy and I know that this influences my son, however I try to disguise it. I also see that here in England I could offer a secure and loving enviroment while in Italy I am so stressed with the abuse and work that I cannot spend much time with my son and I begin to doubt my competence as a mother. Many times when things have got bad he has told me to go back to England with my son (occasionally he has threatened to keep him even if I want to go) but I know that if I bit the bullet and came back with my son I have the risk of facing child abduction. What can I do? There are no womens shelters nearby as I am in a small southern town and I have absolutely no means of transport which also blocks me contacting a lawyer. Ive read the other women on this site and I really understand them, but there just seems no way out for me and other women in my situation, Ive even tried to talk to my partner about how I feel, what we can do to get on and I am constantly faced with a brick wall. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks

Responses

From Rebecca / Posted: 31/07/2010
Hi Suzy, I can really empathise with your situation because it reflects what I was in some years ago. You do have some choices in this matter, and the first is not to go back to Italy and remain here with your son. However, you must realise that your partner can commence Hague Convention proceedings against you under the ´unlawful retention´ part of the Act and this would be upheld in the UK, but you could take the chance that he would not apply to get your son back. If he did apply you would have to accept that your son would legally be made to return to Italy (not you - but all us mothers go back with our children anyway, so effectively you would be forced back there too). However, the HC forces the child back to their country of habitual residence, not the family home, so if your partner commenced proceedings you could use the time to ensure you went back to a place of safety, and seek out a womens shelter. It doesn´t have to be nearby to your home there, you are in an abusive relationship consisting of mental and emotional abuse at the least, you are clearly unhappy and depressed, and the situation is affecting your child, so you will need to try and find a way out of this relationship, even if it means starting up on your own in Italy as a single parent and creating a new life for yourself there and going through the courts there for residency and contact orders for your son. This is extremely hard to do I know, but once you start taking some control back of how you live your life you will start to feel better. I was forced back to Australia in 2005 under the HC and went back there with my 2yr old son to a homeless situation and was eventually taken into a women´s refuge. The support and advice I got was amazing and it enabled me to permanently stay away from the abusive relationship I was in and I built up the confidence and emotional strength to fight for my rights. I was allowed to return to the UK eventually with my son, but that was all due to myself, my ex and our son being British in the first place and issues with immigration over permanent visas etc (all very complex), otherwise my son would have been made to remain in Oz and I would have too. Living as a single parent in Italy may not be what you would want, but it may have to be the reality of your situation, or face remaining in a very miserable relationship with your partner. I remember Reunite telling me that the HC was a very ruthless convention, and it is. It does not take into account domestic abuse, unhappiness, your health, issues of homelessness etc, it´s purely a case of ´has this child been removed from it´s country of habitual residence - yes or no´ and if the answer is ´yes´ then the child is sent back. You (the parent) are left high and dry, but in some cases the judge can make the absent parent give ´undertakings´ to the court, which are conditions that the absent parent must abide by in order for the judge to send the child back.
Your other choice is to return to Italy when you originally planned to, therefore avoiding all the HC stuff altogether, and contact a womens refuge (can you not do this from work?) and ask them for help and support in moving you there.
Good luck whatever happens.
From suzanne / Posted: 01/11/2010
Dear Suzy,
I am in a very similar situation but in the north of Italy. Following years of harassment and noncomformity in every way, (still now) of the Court Order by the father, I applied 3 years ago for Permission to Leave in order to return to the UK with my children, to have a job and security and like you, family and friends.... my partner too has done his utmost to isolate me here... however, I was (or rather my children were) punished by the courts, in favour of the one person, the father, who was causing so much disruption and distress in their lives.
Please ask Reunite to put you in touch with me, by asking them to give you my email address..... it could be a comfort and help to talk these things over with someone in the same country in a similar situation. I imagine you had to return to Italy after the summer?? So much of what you have written is familiar to my own situation. take care in the meantime, Suzanne
From Suzy / Posted: 26/11/2010
Hi Suzanne,
I took the decision to not return so now Im paying the consequences. I too am about to be forced back to that place. I dont know how to get in touch with you....
From Suzanne / Posted: 07/02/2011
Dear Suzy, havent heard any more from you. Id like to help if I can. Sometimes sharing is important. Be strong whatever the current situation is - if its any consolation - you are not alone in all this. Suzanne
From suzy / Posted: 08/05/2011
Hi, Im back in Italy now... long and painful procedure, how are you doing, are you still here? Suzy
From lippa / Posted: 09/08/2013
Some information about international child abductions in Italy.
Italy is part of The Hague Agreement of 1980 concerning the civil aspect of the International Child Abduction as well as part of the Bruxelles II Regulation. Child abductions in Italy are also a crime: International child abductions up to 4 years of prison. The best thing to do in these case is to respect the law and send notification of family abuses to the Social Services or police. The accusation need to be well motivated becuase defamation is a crime as well (up to 6-8 years of prison). My advice is to apply to a Court, whose decision is usually in favour of the mother. The court can often forbid the expatriation of the child, but after some years the custodian can ask the relocation and the Court can grant it if it is ascertained that there is no risk for the child to lose the connection with the other parent.

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