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Italian police celebrate Valentine's with anti-violence campaign

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Italian police celebrate Valentine's with anti-violence campaign
Credit: Polizia di Stato
15:36 CET+01:00
"If love is hurting you, you know where to get out," is the message Italy's police force shared on Valentine's Day, as part of their ongoing campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Police shared a map of Rome's Metro system showing how to reach the capital's police stations within walking distance from each stop.

"On some days more than others, we forget what can happen within the walls of other houses," read the text accompanying the map, shared on Tuesday. Police explained that the goal behind the map was to show those trapped in abusive relationships that there was a way out,

"We forget to look at the girls, the women who pass by us, who seem the same as the others but aren't," they said. "Because there are many who are isolated. Loneliness gives them the feeling of not being able to change things."

A video showing a young woman's commute home was also produced as part of the campaign. After arriving at her house, she is verbally and physically abused by a man, but then her journey home is shown in reverse - this time, along her commute she uses the map to find a police station nearby.

Officers also took to the streets on Tuesday to raise awareness of domestic abuse in Italy, with vans, stands and gazebos stationed in public squares around the country.

The mobile units allow officers to "establish direct content with women, who will be assisted by psychologists, police officers and representatives of organizations, ready to listen to the testimonies of those who are often afraid of reporting crimes or going into a police station," police explained.

They have already been in action on the first and third Saturday of every month since last July, with a total of almost 19,000 people using them to get in touch with police.

This is part of an ongoing police campaign called 'Questa non e amore' (This isn't love), aimed at educating women about what behaviour constitutes abuse and how to leave an abusive relationship safely, rather than suffering alone.

Efforts from police and the Italian government to tackle the problem of domestic violence appear to have led to a decrease in crimes: murders of women within a family environment fell from 117 in 2014 to 111 in 2015 and 108 last year, while acts of harrassment dropped by over 1,000 from 12,446 in 2014 to 11,400 last year.

Other crimes, including sexual violence, physical assault, had also seen decreases over the past two years.

However, despite the signs of progress, police noted that the figures showed "these phenomena affect a significant proportion of the population", and that in many cases, domestic violence goes unreported.

READ MORE: How Italy is tackling gendered violence, and what remains to be done

116 women have been murdered in Italy this year. How can Italy tackle gendered violence?

Photo: AFP

 

 
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