“In the case of father who forgets his daughter in the car and this dies, it is a tragic accident in which a specific memory lapse. It is not a case of dissociative amnesia as it does not involve a larger and more persistent memory loss nor is it necessarily associated with a specific trauma. Nor as ‘forgotten baby syndrome’ which refers to a specific episode in which a parent, for short periods of time, forgets the presence of the child in a vehicle. It is often associated with factors such as distraction, disrupted routines or overload of stress and responsibility”. Thus Giovanna Crespi, secretary of the Italian Society of Forensic Psychiatryreturns to an intervention on what happened in Rome where a little girl died in a car forgotten by her father who was supposed to accompany her to kindergarten.
How does a couple survive an event like this? What strategies do you suggest? “It is not possible now to trace a path that can suit all couples – replies Crespi – Healing from such a devastating loss takes time and patience and there is no pre-established healing process or final deadline for mourning. Everyone faces the grief and bereavement differently. I hope that they will be treated early on by qualified professionals who specialize in bereavement and trauma. A therapist, she suggests, can help couples work through the pain, guilt and sense of loss that accompany a such an event. They may provide a safe environment to explore emotions and offer bereavement-specific coping tools and strategies.”
“Participating in support groups for parents who have undergone similar experiences can also be invaluable – continues the secretary of the Italian Society of Forensic Psychiatry – These groups offer an environment in which people can share their experiences, receive mutual support and learn from other people who are going through a similar journey of grief and healing. In such a difficult time, it can be easy to get lost in your own sadness and distance yourself from one another. It is important to make a conscious effort to preserve connection and intimacy It is vital that both partners take care of themselves during this period of grieving and healing as it can help maintain the strength and resilience needed to deal with the situation.”
The father turns out to be investigated for abandonment of a minor. What does he think about it and what will happen now? “The father’s responsibility in relation to his mental conditions will have to be ascertained. Generally intra-family crimes are more easily linked to the presence of a mental disorder. It will be the experts – he concludes – who will evaluate whether and how the mental disorder may have influenced the “an event that can probably exclude the willful misconduct. It is a terrible tragedy both for the child and for both parents who will hardly be able to overcome the trauma. In this case, the sentence for the father is the event itself that will condition the rest of his life regardless of legal assessment”.
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