After bringing little Noemi back to Cesena, a nationwide commitment against “family kidnappings” for Filippo Zanella

After bringing little Noemi back to Cesena, a nationwide commitment against “family kidnappings” for Filippo Zanella
After bringing little Noemi back to Cesena, a nationwide commitment against “family kidnappings” for Filippo Zanella

He is among the few in Italy (and perhaps in Europe) who after years managed to recover and bring back to his homeland his minor daughter who had been taken away by force (to Poland) by her mother. While little Noemi Zanella is quickly reintegrating into her Cesena life from which she had been taken away for too long, the commitment of her father, Filippo Zanella, alongside the parents who saw their child kidnapped, did not end with articulated repatriation of the beloved Noemi.

In fact, the Cesena area is remaining active to help all those parents who continue to experience a similar situation.

Demonstration

Next Friday he will be among the protagonists in Rome (as vice president and alongside president Rita Fadda) of the event organized by Luvv: the league of men who are victims of violence. From 9 to 12 the meeting will be in via di San Nicola de’ Cesarini (Largo di Torre Argentina): a real gathering of fathers who are victims of national abduction and international kidnapping of their children. Filippo Zanella will be among the guides of the event. «My commitment which will continue over time – explains Zanella himself – is also due to the fact that Luvv was among the organizations that helped me the most in my daughter’s recovery. They played a continuous campaign role in spreading requests for help on Polish social networks. And in general, Luvv helps many other fathers who are victims of their child’s kidnapping.” The aim of the demonstration in Rome is precisely to put the spotlight on an unknown but dramatically present phenomenon in Italy and beyond: «We need to keep these situations under the spotlight because the average is one child kidnapped per day – underlines Zanella – The kidnapping from a parent is just the tip of the iceberg of problems. Fathers in Italy are penalized and discriminated against in their parenting. In separations, even if the law should be “the same for everyone”, in 99% of cases it is the mother who receives maintenance payments, the house and custody of the children. Cases of assignment to fathers are very rare. Instead, children also need the closeness of their father figure to grow properly.”

Men and violence suffered

During the event we will also talk about other aspects: «We will also talk about violence against men which is another phenomenon hidden from the general public. There are many, too many, men who receive violence, including physical violence, and who never have access to the protection and help of anti-violence centers which are almost exclusively for women. Men are also victims of crimes and murders; so as not to count how many are victims of suicides caused by the situations they experience in separations. There is a lot of ignorance about all these phenomena. And instead we need immediate legislative interventions.”

Kidnapped children and laws

The dramatic experience he had to bring Noemi back to Romagna taught Filippo Zanella a lot. An experience that he can now give back to others: «Child abductions require immediate interventions. Because in most cases children are torn from their context, forced abroad at the mercy of their parent-kidnapper. Years pass before a legal balance can be found that will lead them, in the best case scenario, back home. If you take a five-year-old child away for a long time, you take away at least half of his life alongside a parent. I remain available for all those fathers who have suffered a kidnapping. I’m giving procedural advice and logistical help. I recently met a French father who suffered a kidnapping like Noemi’s: in Poland. Where the laws tolerate the abduction of minors by mothers who find enough protection to “disappear into thin air”. I also recently met an Italian father of Ethiopian origin. From which the mother took her children away by activating (in an instrumental manner) a red code that made the father appear as a person from whom the children must “stay away”. They are desperate parents who don’t know what to do or how to move. It’s not easy. I managed to bring my daughter home because I had economic resources and the possibility of moving abroad to search independently. Not because the Italian police force could do anything for me or because the Polish police helped me.”

Noemi back in Romagna

«Let us remember that fathers are not the only victims in kidnappings. These are the grandparents, uncles, girlfriends and friends of the abducted minor. A phenomenon that in Italy is more serious than in other parts of the world. Because with the current laws we are very good at returning a child who may have been stolen and brought to Italy from abroad, but we impose nothing to return a child who has been kidnapped abroad from Italy.”

In short, there is a lot to do for Filippo Zanella. While her daughter is returning to being 100% Cesena: «she is relearning Italian at the speed of light. She and she went back to hanging out with friends, summer camps, her grandparents… ». An incentive not to abandon many other fathers from all over Italy to themselves.

 
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