Violence against women in Italy is a serious problem. 31.5% of women have suffered some form of physical or sexual violence during their lives. Violence against women persists in many forms, including domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment in the workplace and human trafficking for sexual purposes.
In September 2020, the Italian government declared a national state of emergency to combat gender-based violence. This initiative was taken in response to the increase in domestic violence cases especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The victims were trapped in the house with their attackers with no possibility of escape or access to support services.
The situation is worrying, just think that in Italy, as shown by ISTAT data (in 2021 alone), more than 109 feminicides have been recorded, we are talking about a 40% increase compared to the previous year. Unfortunately, 93% occurred within the family, and in 63% of cases it was caused by one’s partner. Victims of violence often find themselves in situations of great vulnerability and fear, making it difficult to report abuse and seek help.
The data from the Report from the Criminal Analysis Service of the Central Criminal Police Directorate updated to 20 November 2022 highlights a truly horrifying picture; in the period 1 January – 20 November 2022, 273 murders were recorded (+2% compared to the same period in 2021), with 104 female victims (-5% compared to the same period in 2021 in which 109 women were killed).
There were 88 women killed in the family/emotional context (-6% compared to the same period in 2021 in which there were 94 victims); of these, 52 died at the hands of their partner/ex-partner (-16% compared to the 62 victims in the same period of 2021).
In Italy, the introduction of law 119/2013, commonly known as the “Femicide Law”, was significant. This law introduced tougher measures to punish those responsible for domestic violence and placed greater emphasis on prevention and protection of victims. It is essential to continue to promote awareness and provide support to victims to help them escape from these dangerous situations. Continued efforts are needed to raise public awareness, provide support to victims and promote gender equality.
In this regard, there are numerous non-governmental organizations and assistance centers that offer emotional, legal and economic support to victims of violence. Every woman in difficulty must have the right to turn to a service that intervenes promptly.
The Ministry of Health, on its portal, provides a series of authoritative figures to contact in the event of violence: every year 112 receives calls for cases of physical aggression, threats or psychological violence. There is an active anti-violence and anti-stalking number (1522), a public service promoted by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, (active 24 hours a day) with which it is possible to speak with specialized operators to support victims of violence or stalking.
November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, an anniversary established by the United Nations General Assembly, which on this date invites governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities aimed at raise public awareness of one of the most devastating violations of human rights.
A collective and continuous commitment is truly necessary to try to change mentalities and combat gender stereotypes that unfortunately fuel violence. It is important to educate new generations about mutual respect, gender equality and the prevention of violence.