President of the FAVIS Association (IT)
As spokesman of the Italian Associations in charge of the organisation of this conference, I would like to extend my welcome to all the representatives of the many European, non-European and overseas associations taking part in this event and to the illustrious guests who took up our invitation to participate.
I will try to explain the activity of the Italian associations throughout 2007, in particular in what concerns their claim for attention made to the Italian Government on the dangerous phenomenon of the increase of cults/sects considered dangerous to the individual and society as abusing organisations.
We are all well aware of the fact that these organisations are able to thoroughly condition an individual, detach him or her from their reality and the love of their families. They often harm the victims’ health, by negatively affecting their physical and psychological balance, they trick their victims out of their assets, perpetrate physical violence, and practise blackmail, abuse, frauds, and threats.
These crimes are already punishable through penal codes in democratic States.
But what we are focusing on here is a crime that they commit against the most intimate part of a human being which is often left unpunished in the majority of European countries; a crime against individual freedom and against self-assertion which in Italy is commonly known as subjugation but is should be more appropriately go under the name psychophysical CONDITIONING.
Very often criticism – also supported by some political party – comes from both the academic world, that of “scientific researchers” and sectarian organisations trying to de-legitimise the activity implicating critical information and comparison of facts carried out by the Associations.
This is of course logically predictable, but it may also happen that the people involved in the Associations are often subject to illegal investigations on their private lives and to even heavier intimidation acts, and they become the target of planned accusations from cultic/sectarian organisations which miss no opportunity to claim the work of the Associations as a sign of religious intolerance, accusing them of being, in return anti sect-sects, labelling them as extremists, even Nazis (…maybe they have looked at themselves in the mirror).
The Creation of the FORUM
In order to widen the scope for action and establish a real collaboration with the State, six associations have created the “FORUM DELLE ASSOCIAZIONI ITALIANE DI RICERCA INFORMAZIONE E CONTRASTO DEI MOVIMENTI SETTARI NOCIVI”. (Forum of Italian Associations for Research, Information, and Comparison against noxious Cultic/Sectarian Movements). The Forum has had to, as it is often the case, overcome difficulties and misunderstandings to re-establish and maintain its unity. Mirelle (Degen) confirms that such things happen also among the associations in other countries (it’s the same all the world over!).
The Objectives of the FORUM
– Developing a cultural project in high schools and universities, to spread knowledge of the sectarian phenomenon in its various aspects and the dangers it poses to the individual and society. The places where culture is made and where new generations are trained and educated are the target of the expansion plans of many among the most dangerous sectarian organisations.
– Urging the political world to adopt a fair law for the safeguard of the citizens, their mental health and their assets, to punish the practice of subtle conditioning.
– Establishing public structures within the SNN (National Health Service) where specialised psychologists help victims coming from sects or abusing cults to recover.
– Organising Training Courses for justice operators – magistrates, police forces reporting for S.A.S. to Questuras focusing on :
“psychophysical conditioning: methods and consequences, with special reference to the psychological damage suffered by adepts” and identification of crimes occurring within the sectarian environment (violation of human rights).
– Public acknowledgment of the social activity carried out by the associations which, among other things, are responsible for the preventive and informative activity aiming at effectively safeguarding citizens (which should be performed by the State); such voluntary activity is often, and we want to highlight that, conducted in precarious economic conditions and sometimes even putting personal security at risk.
– Allocation of tangible aids to the associations by the State, through the establishment of a small fund specific for this kind of voluntary activity which up to know has always been self supported by means of the money coming from the salaries of those who work for the associations themselves.
– Establishment of a fund for the temporary support to ex-members who have the courage to come out into the open by denouncing sectarian organisations, although they know that they will probably not get what they are asking for from the State: that is to say justice. This is the reality, owing to the lack of norms on psychological and physical conditioning.
What is listed above is part of the document addressed to the political world and the institutions, called “Requests to the political World regarding the plague phenomenon of sects, abusing cults and psychophysical conditioning of adepts”, which was presented during the public promotion of the book “Libro nero delle sette in Italia” (The black Book of Sects in Italy)- as explained below – and at the meeting with the SAS of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Overview of the activity carried out by Italian association in 2007:
– 21/9/07: presentation at the press room of the Italian Chamber of Deputies of the book “Libro nero delle sette in Italia” (Ed. Newton Compton) by Caterina Boschetti, who is here with us today.
– Meeting in Rome, in the afternoon between the FORUM of the association and the S.A.S. Squadra Anti Sette (Anti-sect team) of the Department for Crime Analysis of the Ministry of Home Affairs (established in November 2006), of which we are hosting today, as representative, the first delegate to the creation of SAS, Mr. Giuseppe Carlesi. During the meeting, a memorandum of collaboration has been agreed for reports, auditions, and denounces; I have been appointed as mediator in the meetings with the citizens turning to the associations and representative of the Forum by SAS.
– Presentation on November 7, 2007 by the President of the Commission for Justice, of the bill no. 3225 for the introduction of “Art.613-bis of the Penal Code regarding the crime of mental manipulation”. This too followed the previously held meetings with the representatives of various parties.
Unfortunately, as you all know, the Government fell and general elections will take place in Italy over the next two days. We await the result with confidence to re-establish contact with the politicians for we have received reassurance on the reconsideration of the draft law dear to our hearts. We will surely commit ourselves to make this happen.
To this we can add a large number of meetings, initiatives, reports, local and national summits for which the single associations have been responsible which, for time and space reasons, we cannot list.
At a European level we call for the organisation of yearly summits of the Ministers of Home Affairs of all the countries of the European Union to discuss and exchange information on the results of the inquiries on the sectarian phenomenon in the various countries and to propose concerted actions.
The EC cannot just be an aggregation of countries pursuing mere economic objectives, it is only right that it should adopt legal measures for the security and safeguard of the citizens, including a norm providing for punishment of psychological and physical conditioning.
Once a manipulator (swindler) has, by means of the methods we know so well, established his or her dominance on another person’s mind, they have already sucked out everything from that subject, by violating the most precious and most intimate part that person owns, and they will easily obtain all sorts of favours, both economic and sexual, from this subject. A few European countries have opened and important path by emanating a law in this regard. Let’s make it possible for other countries to follow this example.
We would like to thank the Public Administrations – The Province of Venice and the Province of Rimini – which have, through patronage and economic contribution, supported the organisation of this important international event.
 Associazione Nazionale Familiari Delle Vittime Delle Sette, a FECRIS correspondent
 Squadra Anti Sette (S.A.S)