Can a minor child report the abuse suffered by a parent?

by Concas Alessandra, Contact Person for Civil, Commercial and Bankruptcy Law and Family Law

It could be argued that it seems to be scientifically proven that the most defenseless and weak people are those who are most at risk of being victims of abuse.

Such events do not happen exclusively in school or work contexts, but also at home.

Proof of this is the fact that the cases of domestic violence that are reported to the authorities every year are very numerous.

If the victim of the aggressive parent is the adult child, it is possible to file a complaint against the perpetrator.

The adult child, if he should have the necessary financial resources to be able to implement it, could also be removed from home.

The situation is different for minor children, who cannot escape from home and also have a limited ability to file a complaint.

In this article we will write something about the specific aspect of how to defend against an abusive father.


  1. How can a child of age be defended from a violent father?
  2. How can a minor child be protected from a violent father?
  3. The role of school and social services
  4. Is it possible to escape from home?

1. How can a child of age be protected from a violent father?

When the victim of a violent father is the adult child, the same, if he wants, can file a complaint with the police, for example carabinieri or police.

Similar situations can occur not exclusively if the violence is against the childrenbut even if they have another family member as their victim, for example the mother.

An adult child who witnesses violence occurring in the family can undoubtedly turn to the authorities for their help.

2. How can a minor child be protected from a violent father?

If the victim of the abusive father is the minor son, the matter it could be more complexbecause according to the law, only those who are at least 14 years old you can go to the police or the carabinieri to file a complaint.

It should be distinguished according to the age of the minor child.

If you are at least 14 years oldcan file a complaint like any adult person.

If you have not turned 14the complaint must be filed for him by the parent or by another person who has the representation, such as the guardian.

If a 13-year-old child is the victim of a violent father, the complaint must be filed by the other parent, that is, by the mother.

If the abused child should have only the father, for example because the mother is dead, the judge will have to appoint him a special curator to look after his interests, possibly also denouncing the abusive father.

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3. The role of school and social services

We wondered if in front of a minor child who has not turned 14 and cannot validly file a complaintwho can inform the judge of the need to appoint a special curator who can report the violent father.

Crimes against minors can always be prosecuted ex officio.

This means that the report can be exported by anyone, even a person outside the family context, such as a friend or acquaintance.

It is not infrequent that to counter an abusive parent, both the school that is in charge of alerting the social services who, in turn, will report any violent behavior in the family directly to the police or to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Consequently, even if a under 14 years old he cannot validly file a complainthe could also report the violence he suffers to another person, for example to his teacher or to another relative, who will be able to file a complaint or make a report to social services.

It should not be forgotten that, if the minor under 14 had to go to the carabinieri or the police to file a complaint, this could not be collected by the police, which however could be activated in order to try to understand more. perhaps by hiring social services or carrying out a personal survey.

4. Is it possible to run away from home?

If an adult child suffers violence from the father, together with the right to file a complaint he might as well leave homeas long as he has a place where he can be welcomed.

The minor child does not have the opportunity to run away from home.

It will be up to the judge to decide who to entrust the minor victim of father’s abuse.

For example, it can be established sole custody to the mother who lives elsewhere, to other relatives or to a family willing to welcome him.

The judge might also decide to drive the abusive father away from homewith the imposition of the obligation to continue to support the family economically.

This is the precautionary measure removal from the family homewhich is ordered by the judge for crimes committed in the family, such as mistreatment.

Should such cases arise, the judge can order the abusive father to leave the house and to continue to keep whoever is left therefor example wife and children, when they are unable to support themselves independently.

Recommended volume

Operational Manual of Family Law

With a practical slant, the work deals with the main institutions linked to family relationships, through the analysis of the most recent legislation and jurisprudence.

In particular, separation and divorce and all the patrimonial and personal consequences deriving from the cessation of matrimonial effects are dealt with.

Space is then dedicated to civil unions and cohabitants, as well as to the position of the unborn child, as the disputed holder of rights.

The work is completed by the treatment of the criminal protection of the obligations arising from marriage, such as assistance and the provision of means of subsistence.

Giuseppe Cassano
Director of the Department of Legal Sciences of the European School of Economics, he taught Institutions of Private Law at the Luiss University of Rome. A scholar of personality rights, family law, civil liability and Internet law, he has published over a hundred essays on the subject, including volumes, treatises, essays and notes.

Giuseppe Cassano, Paolo Di Geronimo, Elena Peruzzini, Morena Rapolla, Marzia Rossi, Alessia Salamone, Federica Spinaci2020, Maggioli Editore

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Can a minor child report the abuse suffered by a parent?