Drets Socials will withdraw custody from parents of minor sexual offenders if they do not collaborate

When a child under 14 years old has committed a crime of sexual assault and his parents do not participate in the family sex education programs to those who are obliged, the Generalitat will remove custody and these minors will go to live with other relatives, in minor centers or with foster families. This is the “political will” that this Thursday the Minister of Social Rights, Carles Campuzanoafter the presentation of an analysis carried out by several experts on how to combat sexual violence in children and adolescents that the Government commissioned after the ‘Magic case’ in Badalona.

Minister Campuzano demands the “responsibility” of families in repairing the damage caused to the victims

Last year, eight girls and adolescents reported 18 boys, 11 of whom were under 12 years old, for gang rape. A year after that case broke out, the Government assumes self-criticism and announces a reinforcement of the care team for unresponsible minors and their parents.

The group rapes of teenagers around the Magic shopping center in Badalona marked a before and after in Cataalunya. It seemed inconceivable that a group of minors had used such sexual brutality. Also inconceivable were the failures to provide care to the families of one of the victims, especially in the school environment, and the fact that the non-imputability of the aggressors under 14 years of age allowed them to avoid the action of justice. That is why months after the case broke out, the Generalitat commissioned a study from a group of experts to understand what was happening and how this situation could be resolved to not generate impunity of the aggressors to the victims of such abuse.

Exceptional case

The report was presented this Thursday. And it is very clear. Firstly, experts place the Badalona case as an “exceptional” case that cannot even remotely presuppose that there is an upward trend in these crimes. “The majority of sexual violence against minors is committed by adults and those they trust,” explained the coordinator of the group of experts, the educational policy analyst. Edward Vallory. “Although a report from the prosecutor’s office speaks of an increase in this type of complaints, this increase is not significant because there are still many children who do not report or reveal the attacks they suffer,” said Vallory.

“This is an exceptional case, but we do see that sexual violence in the digital environment between minors is increasing, although they are milder types of crimes,” he stressed. Alba Alfagemeadvisor to the Minister of the Interior, Joan Ignasi Elena.

Against increasing the criminal age

From this perspective, both experts and the ministry itself have been categorically against increasing the criminal age for minors. A measure that the mayor of Badalona, ​​Xavier Garcia Albiol, demanded. “It is unnecessary and counterproductive. The penal system is useless and inefficient to guarantee, in these cases, that there is no risk of repetition. What’s more, it can have adverse effects,” said the criminal expert. Carla Vall. However, he has insisted that measures must be applied to these children to ensure correct intervention: prevent them from attacking once again there is no feeling that they get away with it and that the victims can repair the damage suffered.

In this sense, the Government takes the mea culpa and assumes that the EMI-14 program, the pioneering project in Catalonia that ensures that working with unimpeachable minors can be greatly improved. “We are going to review and reinforce it, deploying it throughout all territories and with a training program in sex education with families and the environment”, has committed Núria Valls, Secretary of Children of the Government. The Generalitat will hire 12 more professionals to reach all of Catalonia so that children and their parents are aware of the consequences of their actions and so that they are not repeated.

The Government will hire 12 more professionals to reinforce care for minors and their families

If they do not comply or do not participate, the minister has expressed for the first time his “political will” to withdraw guardianship parental. “Families are responsible of what their children do,” Campuzano insisted. “We unequivocally express this will to avoid the feeling of impunity,” he added. Government sources explain that, in the families of the ‘Magic case’, they have not had to go as far as this extreme, although in some cases there has been a threat to do so if they did not collaborate.

But the experts have also gone to the core of the ‘Magic case’, consulting all the police and social services files, and have been ‘in situ’ in the Sant Roc neighborhood of Badalona, ​​home of practically the majority of these child aggressors. After this dive, several stand out patterns that these minors comply with, and that can help understand what happened.

Many of them have to do with their social and family situation, in environments where families cannot act as a nucleus of prevention and neither can the neighborhood or the community act as a protective factor. “Situations of greater impunity are generated and the assumption that anything they do will be accepted,” said the coordinator. For this reason he has demanded universal access to preschool education and the presence of social services with enough resources to work with these families.

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But the actions of these children also speak of the sexist patterns in which they have grown up. According to experts, they have learned and conceived masculinity as domination but also rape culture and sexual terror. “They justify access to women’s bodies and their protection concerns them: in how they dress or behave.” In fact, they embody the profile of these young people who adopt sexist messages, reactionary to the feminist movement and women’s rights. All of this, added to group pressure, precocious physical development prior to mental maturity, an enormous impact of social networks and porn as the main source of sexual education.

In this sense, experts go further and have asked the Generalitat to extend affective-sexual education transversally. They have also demanded greater support for the victims and their environment. In fact, the Government has presented a series of measures, many of them already underway and planned for months, to try to confront sexual violence: victimization surveys, studies on minor aggressors or the expansion of the Barnahus pilot plan to address the victims of sexual violence in childhood.