Mum in Italian custody case says girls want to come home
NEARLY a year since the four Italian girls were dragged kicking and screaming by federal police from a Mountain Creek home and their mother says they still want to return to Australia.
The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also claims the father has limited the girls' ability to communicate with her.
"This is a breach of court orders as technically they should be allowed to speak to me at any time," the mother said. "I am in the process of contacting lawyers."
The international custody dispute made headlines last year after an Australian court ruled in the father's
favour that the girls should return to their home in Italy.
The court agreed with the father's claim after they had been illegally brought to the country by their mother and ordered their return under the Hague Convention.
The girls, however, did not want to go. The mother says this hasn't changed.
"They don't seem to be settling," she said.
"I keep getting constant requests from them to come home."
The father apparently told the girls on Saturday, on their mother's birthday, they could only communicate with their mother for 15 minutes a day using his phone last week.
She said she did not have the funds to challenge the process in court.
"It is really unbearable watching your kids suffer and not being able to protect them," she said.
She said she was "unable to move from the couch for four months" after the girls were taken from her.
"I was in a state of post-traumatic stress," she said.
"The most importing thing in my life was taken away. But it came to a point when I had to make up my mind on who I wanted to be for my children."
Since then she has been completing her university degree and has been working part time in a "cleaning job".
She said the girls, aged between nine and 15 when they were sent to Italy on October 3, would return to Australia once they turned 16.
Her concern was for the youngest children.
"They are surviving, keeping strong looking after each other," she said.