"Four Italian Girls - A More Indepth Understanding "

A Sunshine Coast family is being ripped apart by a Family Court ruling that is forcing four young girls on to a flight to Italy to live with a father they describe as a physically abusive workaholic.  The girls, aged 9, 10, 13 and14, remain "missing" after a relative took the girls from their school to an undisclosed location. If found, the girls will be handcuffed, sedated and physically carried from their mother and flown off to Italy.

A Family Court judge has refused to hear applications aimed at keeping four girls with their mother in Queensland. The judge ruled this afternoon that only the mother could make an application, but she was in contempt of court because she had not delivered the girls into the care of the state.  The judge ruled he would not consider the mother's application until she complied and the children came out of hiding.  Let us not forget that the only reason the girls won't come out of hiding is because they will be forcefully put onto a plane and flown to Italy! If the girls' passports were put on hold, they would be able to come out of hiding and appear in court as the judge requests.

Let's take one step at a time - the girls are likely to come out of hiding when their passports are put on hold and they know that they are safe in Australia!  The mother is Australian and the girls are Australian citizens by birthright.  The mother went to Italy as a teenager, to study and was living with an Italian family and married the eldest son.  After the death of their third daughter, when she was a few months old, the father developed psychological problems (in 2000).  There are medical and police records to back up the claims of harm to the mother and children by the father. Hard copies of his medical reports, from the hospital, stating he has ongoing psychoses are in the possession of the family. 

She left her husband and filed for divorce at which time he abandoned her and her daughters, barely providing any financial support to his daughters and often ignoring or harming them when they were in his custody.  The medical documents were used in conjunction with other police and hospital records, to support her plea to the Australian government to assist in her returning to Australia with the girls, for their safety. The Australian government arranged passports for all 4 girls after receiving consent from the father to allow them to leave.

The girls and their mother came to Australia and settled in close to supportive family and friends. The girls are all talented, top students now, and are confident young women.   Three of the 4 girls have different food related medical issues, meaning their mother has to carefully monitor everything they eat. We are concerned this high level of nutritional care will not be adhered to, should the girls be sent back to Italy. Prior to one daughter being diagnosed as coeliac, she was hospitalised for almost two weeks in critical care and the father only visited once. In addition, another daughter, who is severely allergic to lactose was fed regular milk constantly.

The girls are fearful of their father and any ramifications that may follow should they be put into his care, since they have now publicly spoken out about his treatment of them.  It has been noted that there has been a severe lack of procedural fairness with regard to this case and this has been documented in court transcripts.

It is clear, from the impassioned pleas of the children, including via video and in written statements, that they do not want to return to Italy and are fearful of their safety if they are forced to do so. No child would willingly run away from a loving mother and supportive family environment unless they were absolutely certain it was their only option for their protection.

The girls and the mother need the support of everyone to protect them and their rights as children, as Australian citizens and as human beings who deserve basic human rights.

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