ECtHR: Italy violated Article 2 after failing to protect woman and her children

ECtHR: Italy violated Article 2 after failing to protect woman and her children

Italy violated Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights after it failed to protect a woman and her children, one of whom was murdered by the applicant’s partner.

Ms Landi alleged that the Italian state had failed to take the requisite action to protect her and her two children from the domestic violence inflicted by her partner, which had led to the murder of her one-year-old son and her own attempted murder in 2018.

The court noted that the national authorities had failed in their duty to conduct an immediate and proactive assessment of the risk of a repetition of the violent acts committed against Ms Landi and her children, and to adopt operational and preventive measures to mitigate the risk and to protect those concerned.

In particular, the authorities had remained passive in the face of the serious risk of ill-treatment of Ms Landi, and their inaction had enabled the applicant’s partner to continue to threaten, harass and attack her unhindered and with impunity. The authorities ought to have assessed the risk of renewed violence and adopted appropriate and adequate measures.

Such measures could have been adopted by the authorities, pursuant to Italian legislation, whether or not there had been a complaint or any change in the victim’s perception of the risk. The authorities had reacted neither immediately, as required in cases of domestic violence, nor at any other time. They had therefore failed to show the requisite diligence and to honour their obligation to protect Ms Landi’s and her sons’ lives.

Nevertheless, the court did not consider that the impugned shortcomings could be considered, per se, as pointing to any discriminatory attitude on the authorities’ part. The complaint concerning Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) read in conjunction with Article 2 was therefore manifestly ill-founded.

The court awarded the applicant just satisfaction of €32,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

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