Dipartimento di Medicina ambientale e Sanità pubblica, Sede di Medicina legale, Università di Padova
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Key words: Judicial hearings, Children, Divorce, Foster care, Adoption, Violence, Abuse
In Italy, the current legislation regarding the rights of children in judicial processes is still piecemeal and subject to interpretation by the judges. Recently, a legal representative of children in all judicial processes regarding them, such as in case of foster care or adoption, and particularly when there might be conflict of interests between the child and the parent such as in case of divorce, has been introduced. In case of adoption, for example, the child has a direct voice if over 12 years or even at an earlier age if recognized capable to do so. There are still, however, uncertainties and differences across the Courts in the application of the law, and as a consequence children’s rights according to the International Convention of the Rights of the Child cannot yet be considered as fully guaranteed. The same is true for the judicial hearing of children in trials where they are either victims or witnesses, such as in case of domestic violence and abuse. Also, judicial hearings should be carefully evaluated and always accompanied by psychological support in order to avoid any harm to the child. A more comprehensive and coherent legislation should be introduced.
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