Cultic Groups in Society: “Prevention, Information, Assistance”

18/19 september 2010
Istituto Madonna del Carmine “Il Carmelo”
Via Doganale 1
Ciampino (Rome)



Langone Michael, International Cultic Studies Association

Kropveld Mike, Info-Secte/Info-Cult

Caparesi Cristina, SOS-Abusi Psicologici

Di Marzio Raffaella, Sette Religioni Spiritualità

Santovecchi Patrizia, Osservatorio Nazionale Abusi Psicologici


Introduction to the Conference (Abstract)

Raffaella Di Marzio

The International Conference Cultic Groups in Society: Prevention, Information, and Assistance” is a relevant event on the Italian scene, not only for the importance of the topic, but also for a number of elements that highlight its absolute novelty and originality:
Ø                 the synergy of associations and single individuals that made the Conference   possible;
Ø                 its scientific purpose as well as its operational one;
Ø                 the methodology, particularly the proposal of workshops lead by facilitators;
Ø                 the international connotation.
About the firs point, it is important to underline that an international conference – designed and co-organized by Italian and foreigner associations and scholars that have been devoted in assisting the victims of sectarian groups for many years – was never organized in Italy before. The hard work of the organizers (ICSA, INFO-CULT, ONAP, SOS Abusi Psicologici, SRS) made it possible to overcome the many difficulties and to pick, today, the fruits of those efforts. We hope that it can be useful for all those people who turned to us to ask for information, assistance and help in these years, and also for the law enforcement agencies, the institutional representatives and the professionals who are here today. The fact that we are here now emphasizes that facing the phenomenon of cults in its complexity is possible and dutiful, we are drawing on every and each useful contribution, on different areas of knowledge and we are learning from different views. Diversity, complementarities and willingness to listening each other are the key words to comprehend the essence of this phenomenon.
The second point refers to the purposes of this Conference, that are both scientific and devoted to researching and studying the phenomenon, as well as operational. For this reason we have provided for a broad discussion time for each contribution, to be used also for legislative proposals and for useful methodological suggestions to face the phenomenon. The third point is the originality of this Conference: beside the traditional speeches and panels, for the first time in Italy we have a number of workshops for former members and families, during which the phenomenon will be faced with modalities that are closer to the personal background and experiences. The workshops will focus on the centrality of the individuals who ask for help, assistance and counselling. The last point is the international range, the other originality of this conference that differentiate it from all the other projects never carried out about these subject in Italy: the conference has panels in three different languages (Italian/English/Polish) and it not only faces the “cult” phenomenon under a national perspective, but also under a transnational and transcontinental perspective that will further enrich the positive exchange under a scientific level, as well as a methodological one.

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