What happens when in any place of Spain a man murders his partner, on charges of bringing a too hot bowl of soup? The child falls into the murderer’s hands.
Ana Santamaría, a psychologist of the territorial childcare team in the Cantabrian Health Service, tells us the lack of statics about the consequences of familiar maltreatment towards children, like a violent mother’s death. Specially, because there are not protocols or measures of performance to these passive victims.
Nowadays, we no longer attend the nonsense that the system generated 20 years ago, when the loophole left the custody of the children to the murderer, but it was more-rather because of the sensible attitude of judges, than because of the existence of a particular rule, which no longer exists, as Leopoldo Pérez del Olmo, the Cantabrian lawyer told us.
Because of the aberrations, in which the ascendant killer kept the children’s custody last year, the possibility of changing the Civil Code was discussed by the council of ministers with the purpose of non-recurrence concerning these cases. Despite the benefits that this would have provided, this proposal was stillborn/ unborn. Without reaching the extreme case of the woman who was killed at the hands of her husband, in most cases, the custody goes to women, but both share the parental authority (custody)/ guardianship.
“The main problem we face is ignorance” told us Ana Santamaría. Violence has been during years on everyone’s lips, but about these passive victims nobody talks, there is a complete ignorance to actions protocols, and as we don’t have statics, we don’t know what will happen with these children, who according to several studies are more likely to exercise harassment. They are scary kids and afraid of the opposite sex. “In Spain we began to realise that we need an action protocol, due to the high number of children sent by social services with problems, which show us that they have been passive victims of gender violence. Ana also told us about adversity to which children find themselves never knowing how to act with their father; either crying because he hit or killed their mother or crying about the likeliness of not seeing him anymore.
Javier Nadal, policeman of the organic unity of the judicial police, who is specialised in EMUNE (Special team of Women and Minor), emphasized the problems of inexistence of management protocols. Then, the child can only receive any type of legal aid as long as his / her abused parent had received it beforehand.
We must banish the myth that gender violence is only part of the conflicts and differences between the couple. There is widespread evidence that the mistreatment of women can be transmitted to future generations, affecting negatively the welfare and development of these, with long-term sequels. Therefore, institutions should avoid this form of child abuse through prevention and victim assistance.
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