The ECHR judgment of 01 February 2018 in the case "V.C. (V.C.) v. Italy" (application No. 54227/14).
In 2014, the applicant was assisted in the preparation of the application. The application was subsequently communicated in Italy.
In the case, the complaint on the failure of the authorities to take timely measures to protect a minor who became a victim of forced prostitution and rape was successfully considered. The case involved violation of the requirements of articles 3 and 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
Between April and June 2013, the applicant, who was 15 at this time, was detained at a party where her participants used alcohol and drugs. Her parents also claimed that their daughter was suffering from a mental disorder and that she was offered to take a pornographic photo session.
The authorities began the criminal investigation immediately after they became aware of the applicant's vulnerable situation and of the real and immediate danger to which she was subjected. In spite of the fact that the prosecutor applied for the initiation of an urgent investigation, as well as the placement of the applicant in a specialized institution and the transfer of custody of her to the social services in July 2013, the juvenile court took an appropriate decision more than four months later, in December 2013, and during this period the applicant was a victim of sexual exploitation.
After the decision of the juvenile court, the social services took more than four months to place the applicant in a specialized institution, despite the relevant requests of her parents and two urgent requests from the juvenile court for information. During this time, the applicant became a victim of rape, and a criminal investigation was initiated into the fact of rape by a group of people, alleged perpetrators of the crime were identified, and the case is pending in court.
Finally, although the applicant refused to be placed in a specialized institution in December 2013, she agreed to this in January 2014, that is, three months before her placement in the center.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with articles 3 and 8 of the Convention. (a) Applicability. The applicant was in the category of "vulnerable persons" who were entitled to protection by the State. Since she became a victim of sexual exploitation and rape, her physical injuries and the psychological pressure she suffered were serious enough to reach the necessary level of severity covered by article 3 of the Convention. Also, this ill-treatment, which violated the applicant's right to respect for her physical integrity, was a source of suffering in her daily life and constituted an encroachment on her private life. In addition, the physical and mental integrity of a person is covered by the notion of "private life", which also extends to the relationship of individuals with each other. Consequently, articles 3 and 8 of the Convention are applicable in the present case.
(b) Merits. The juvenile court took four months from the moment when it became aware of the grave and dangerous situation in which the applicant was in order to take protective measures provided for by law and requested by the prosecutor, although it was known that there was a risk that the applicant was a victim of sexual exploitation , because how the criminal investigation was conducted, and her parents informed the authorities about this.
The absence at some stage of the applicant's consent to be placed in a specialized institution did not, in and of itself, for the domestic authorities, promptly take appropriate and sufficient measures to protect the minor in order to comply with the positive obligations imposed on the State by articles 3 and 8 of the Convention.
Moreover, the actions of social services demonstrated the lack of their real involvement in the process of enforcing the decision of the juvenile court, since representatives of social services did not appear in court sessions, and also taking into account the time spent by them on the choice of the host institution.
Unlike the courts dealing with criminal cases that acted quickly, the competent authorities, namely the juvenile court and social services, did not actually take any immediate protective measures, although they knew that the applicant was physically and mentally vulnerable and that The case concerning her sexual exploitation was still pending, and the investigation into the rape by a group of people continued. Accordingly, the authorities did not conduct any assessment of the risks to which the applicant was subjected.
Taking into account the above, the authorities can not be considered to have shown the required thoroughness. Thus, they did not take all reasonable measures in time to prevent violence, the victim of which was the applicant.
The case involved violation of the requirements of Articles 3 and 8 of the Convention (unanimously adopted).
In application of Article 41 of the Convention, the Court awarded the applicant EUR 30,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.