Wife killed as Italy tries to fight domestic abuse

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The woman was killed by her husband at their home in Perugia. Photo: Raffaele Esposito
09:17 CET+01:00
A 43-year-old woman was shot dead by her husband at their home in Perugia on Wednesday, as Italy marked the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Raffaella Presta, a lawyer, was killed with a shotgun during an argument with her husband, Corriere reported.

Francesco Rosi, a 40-year-old estate agent, immediately admitted the murder, telling police he killed his wife with the shotgun he used for hunting.

Presta was allegedly beaten by her husband in the past, but never reported him. The couple were married for 20 years and have a six-year-old son.

The murder came as renewed calls were made by Italy’s leaders to tackle the issue of women being killed at the hands of current or former partners.

"Counteracting violence against women is an essential task of every society that proposes to protect fundamental human rights," President Sergio Mattarella was quoted by Ansa as saying, while Laura Boldrini, president of Italy's parliament, said “much more needs to be done”.

Boldrini also called for more funds to be put towards women’s shelters.

New laws to protect women against domestic violence were introduced by Enrico Letta’s government in 2013 following a UN report a year earlier which described domestic abuse in Italy as the “most pervasive form of violence in the country”.

The laws stipulated harsher penalties for men who attack pregnant women or harass their current or ex-partners, and also enabled police to remove an abuser from the family home.

But little has changed since then. Figures released on Tuesday revealed that 152 women were murdered in Italy in 2014, with a man being the main person responsible in almost 94 percent of the cases.

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The report by Eures, a research institute, said that 117 women were killed at home – just five less than in 2013.

Lombardy saw the highest number of femicide cases, with 30 cases in 2014, up from 19 in the previous year.

The number of femicide cases in southern Italy fell to 43 last year from 75 in 2013, while in the north the figure rose from 60 to 65.

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