One in every 100 children in Italy is abused

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100,000 children in Italy are abused or mistreated. Photo: David Amsler/Flickr
16:53 CEST+02:00
One in every 100 children in Italy is abused or badly treated, with more than half of the cases affecting girls, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The number equates to 100,000 children in Italy being abused, according to the report by Terre des Hommes, the international children’s rights federation, and the Italian Coordination of Public and Private Services against Child Abuse (CISMAI).

More than half of the abuse or mistreatment (52.5 percent) is inflicted on girls, while 47.5 percent of boys are abused.

The survey, which is the first of its kind for Italy, involved 31 municipalities across the country, from Milan to Sicily.

Out of the child population of 750,000, the survey found that 48,280 were in care.

“The data finally shows us how many children are cared for by social services for abuse,” said Dario Merlin, the president of CISMAI.

But despite the numbers, Merlin said that “child abuse is still a hidden phenomenon”.

In 52.7 percent of the cases, the children had suffered material neglect, while 16.6 percent had been forced to witness acts of violence. Another 12.8 percent had suffered psychological abuse, while 6.7 percent had been sexually abused, 6.1 percent were not cared for properly and 4.8 percent had been physically abused.

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"This work reveals that abuse is a real problem, which tens of thousands of children have to deal with daily," Vincenzo Spadafora from the Authority for Childhood and Adolescence (Autorità Garante per l’Infanzia e l’Adolescenza) told the website,

Spadafora added that the survey also highlighted the need to implement measures to combat child abuse, child poverty and deprivation.

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