Civil rights

Stop Trafficking Children Into Abuse Through EU Institutions

Petition is directed to
European Commission Vice President Dubravka Suica
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Social services threaten to take children from woman who was almost murdered by ex husband

9/25/22, 6:44 AM

News article (Croatian language):

www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/ovo-je-pretucena-zena-ispricala-2019-godine-a-sada-se-opet-boji-za-svoj-zivot/2397740.aspx

We have been aware for some time that this young woman, Mihaela, has been asking for help. In 2019 her ex husband was imprisoned for attempted murder. He beat her around the head, fractured her skull, crushed her hand and tried to stuff her into the boot of his car. She knows that he meant to drive her somewhere and finish her off.

While all of this was happening, her young children were sitting in the car, watching.

Mihaela's ex husband graduated in theology and spent 3 years in a seminary.

Just 3 years later, her attacker is due to be released from prison. Social services are telling Mihaela to go to a safe house. But Mihaela knows that in a small country like Croatia it will not take him long to find her. He has threatened openly he will finish what he started. If Mihaela does not agree to spend the rest of her life fruitlessly in hiding, social services say they will put her children into foster care.

Why do we not know this man's name? Why was his prison sentence so short? Why are the authorities not protecting Mihaela and her children? What about the general public?

More and more we are hearing from victims of domestic abuse, either parents who have escaped abusive partners or adults who suffered abuse as children, that they are being targeted by social services and having their children put into care.

One young couple in Croatia is currently experiencing the most outrageous harassment from social services, exactly for this reason. They have one child who they recently managed to get back from a children's home, thanks to an exceptionally dedicated lawyer, and another child who is still in there. The children have been placed in a home with no legal grounds. The parents have evidence their children have been neglected and abused in the home, their health has suffered. Their lawyer has reason to believe that money has changed hands to determine the children's fate. And the home is making public appeal for funding.

The couple are continuously being harassed and threatened with the removal of their youngest child.

Parents of small children under such stress are unable to devote their energies to their most fundamental task: caring for their children. The actions of the authorities are directly harming the children. This is why we call this behaviour institutional child abuse.

Word is circulating that social services are receiving EU funding for each child placed in care. We understand the figure is around 1500 EUR per month. We will ask for official confirmation of this.

Croatia's justice system currently ranks worst in the EU:

ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/eu_justice_scoreboard_2022.pdf

Reports of corruption in social services are rife:

h-alter.org/ljudska-prava/korupcija-i-institucionalno-nasilje/

It is unclear whether the policy to fund the placement of children in care is an intentional assault on the rights and integrity of the family in order to channel funds into the pockets of private individuals, or if this is a case of unintended consequences with the potential to run riot in a country with such a poor track record on corruption. But clearly, this is an area of serious concern and the utmost importance for human rights and freedoms.


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