Greek Judges Cite Social Media Bullying Over Custody Cases

ATHENS – With proposed reforms from the New Democracy government over parental roles in divorce cases drawing fire from critics, judges in Greece revealed they are being targeted online as they deal with the delicate issues. 

An Athens prosecutor ordered an investigation into claims by the Union of Judges and Prosecutors of social media harassment after complaints that people with cases before them were taking open shots.

That was said to be over decisions that went against people now taking to the Internet to wreak vengeance, reported Kathimerini, with union officials saying the attempt is apparently to blacklist judges to bring pressure on others.

Some of the judges have also received threats, the union said but it wasn't said what they were or if anyone is being investigated either for that or going online to attack members of the judiciary.

Proposed legislation in Greece to give divorced parents an equal say in child-raising didn't take into consideration how it could jeopardize women and children and victims of domestic violence, Human Rights Watch complained.

The measure was put forth by the ruling New Democracy which controls Parliament, where it will likely be voted upon this month over warnings from the activists who said it could lead to lengthy court battles for exceptions.

“The proposed changes contravene international law, which requires that custody determinations be based on assessment of the best interests of the individual child, and do not ensure sufficient protections for domestic abuse victims and their children,” the group said.

While applauding the idea of co-parenting, a presumption of shared custody “ignores the dangerous reality for domestic abuse victims – overwhelmingly women – and their children,” said Hillary Margolis, HRW Senior Women’s Rights Researcher.

“The Greek Parliament should put the safety of children and abuse victims first and reject these alarming changes,” she said, noting that during a public consultation that there was similar criticism about potential shortcomings.

That came from the Hellenic Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Family Law Society, the Greek National Commission for Human Rights, the Lawyers Committee on Legal Issues of Co-Custody, the gender equality organization Diotima, and Refugee Support Aegean.


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