• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Suicide bid sparks fresh calls for Italy cyberbullying law
Italy has been asked to speed up legislation to combat cyberbullying. Photo: SummerSkyes11/Flickr

Suicide bid sparks fresh calls for Italy cyberbullying law

The Local · 19 Jan 2016, 10:34

Published: 19 Jan 2016 10:34 GMT+01:00

The girl leaped from the window of her home on Sunday, leaving a note addressed to the classmates who had allegedly hounded her online.

It was far from an isolated incident – cyberbullying is a rampant, silent epidemic in Italy, and one which mostly affects young people.

But despite its widespread nature, cyberbullying - and bullying in general - is not considered a crime in Italy. As such, bullying is only reported to the police in cases where the abusive behaviour takes a criminal form such as stalking or physical abuse - by which time it is often too late.

In May last year, Italy's Senate unanimously approved a draft bill to criminalize forms of cyberbullying and take measures to stamp it out in schools.

But the slow pace of legislation means that the final hearing of the bill in the House of Representatives is not planned until March, at the earliest.

“There is no more time to waste," Paola Ferrari, spokesperson for the National Observatory on Bullying, told Today.it. “The bill needs to be approved as soon as possible.”

Donatella Ferranti, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, promised the new laws would be brought in, but gave no hint as to when they would arrive.

"We hope to get to work on a final version of the bill as soon as possible," she told Today. "It's a phenomenon which is sadly on the rise and involves victims and aggressors who are often younger than 14.”

According to the most recent figures by the national statistics agency, Istat, 5.9 percent of all youngsters are subject to some form of cyberbullying. Typical behaviours include threatening or offensive messages and social media posts, but more sinister acts like online stalking and digital identity theft are not uncommon.

Pietro Grasso, the president of the Senate, suggested new legislation should enable schools to do more to counteract the phenomenon.

Story continues below…

“Above all else, in our schools we need to create a safety net for our most vulnerable children. We need to educate them on how much damage you can do with words and actions that might seem harmless.” 

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italy earthquake
Food the only comfort for Italy’s earthquake survivors
A refugee dines at a makeshift camp in central Italy. Photo: Mario Laporta/AFP

"Because even in these dire cases it's important to give a good meal to those who have lost everything."

Italy earthquake
In pics: Makeshift shelters house Italy’s quake refugees
An earthquake victim beds down at a makeshift shelter in Amatrice. Photo: Marco Zepatella/AFP

An estimated 2,500 people have lost their homes following the 6.0 magnitude earthquake which hit central Italy on Wednesday.

Italy earthquake
Hope for survivors fades as Italy quake toll climbs
Firefighters search for survivors near Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

An increasingly forlorn search for victims of the earthquake that brought carnage to central Italy entered a third day on Friday as a day of mourning was declared for victims of a disaster that has claimed at least 267 lives.

Italy earthquake
Strong aftershock rattles devastated Amatrice
An aftershock measuring 4.8 struck Amatrice again on Friday morning. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The small town of Amatrice was hit by another aftershock, measuring 4.8 in magnitude, on Friday morning, causing more damage in the centre of the town where at least 193 were killed in Wednesday’s devastating earthquake.

Italy earthquake
Three Britons among dead in Italy earthquake
Rescuers continued their search for bodies on Friday morning. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

At least eight foreigners, including three Britons, a Spanish national, a Canadian and a citizen from El Salvador, were among the 250 people killed when a powerful earthquake struck central Italy this week, officials said, as rescuers continued the grim search for corpses on Friday.

Italy earthquake
Italy earthquake death toll revised down to 241
Volunteers join rescue services in Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

UPDATED: The death toll from a powerful earthquake in central Italy was revised downwards to 241 on Thursday but officials cautioned it could rise again as rescuers continued a grim search for corpses, as powerful aftershocks rocked the devastated area.

Italy quake: Probe opens into building collapses
Collapsed buildings in central Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into building collapses in the Lazio towns of Accumoli and Amatrice following Wednesday’s earthquake.

Italy earthquake: Here's how you can help
Rescuers continue to hand for survivors. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The earthquake on Wednesday, which claimed the lives of at least 247 people, has had a devastating impact on four Italian towns.

Italy must do more to reduce earthquake risk: experts
Rescue workers survey the ruins of Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

"An event like yesterday’s in Japan or California would never have caused the same amount of carnage."

Italy earthquake
Restaurants donate for servings of famous pasta dish
The famous Amatriciana dish derives from Amatrice, where over 200 died in the earthquake. Photo: ZanPei/Flickr

Italian restaurants around the world have been asked to make €2 donations for every plate of Amatriciana pasta served towards Amatrice, one of the towns devastated by Wednesday’s earthquake.

Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
National
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Culture
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
2,506
jobs available