Over 8 million women suffer psychological abuse in Italy

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
Over 8 million women suffer psychological abuse in Italy
File photo: lucidwaters/Deposit Photos"

In Italy, 8.3 million women have suffered psychological abuse, national statistics agency Istat said on Tuesday.


Meanwhile, just over one in five women - 4.5 million in total - had suffered some form of sexual violence. These crimes included rape and attempted rate (which affected 1.57 million women), as well as other kinds of sexual violence and "degrading or humiliating" abuse.

ANALYSIS: 'Violence against women conditions every aspect of our lives'

A similar figure (20 percent or 4.3 million women) had suffered physical violence, with 1.5 percent of these incidents leading to permanent damage, for example burns or complications following asphyxiation.

But perhaps the most staggering figure was that more than 40 percent of women in Italy had suffered psychological abuse, a category which included physical or economic control as well as threats and verbal abuse.

Istat shared the figures on Tuesday morning at a conference titled 'Violence against women: The data and the instruments for understanding the statistics'.

The agency described the phenomenon of gendered violence as "vast, widespread and occurring in many forms, seriously affecting women's daily lives".

Experts from Istat, the UN, the Council of Europe and various Italian universities discussed both the risk factors - separated or divorced women are more likely to be victims of violence, for example, and foreign women are disproportionately affected - and how Italy's justice system is tackling the problem.

They also debated ways of tackling the phenomenon before it comes to violence, such as by improving gender and relationships education in schools.

READ MORE: 'Better sex education would help tackle gendered violence'

Gender education is not yet part of Italy's standard curriculum, though some institutions have paved the way: in Turin, schools teach classes on consent and recognizing the signs of abuse, and the University of Bologna offers a seminar dedicated to violence against women.

Italy has stepped up its efforts to tackle gendered violence since a damning United Nations report labelled domestic violence "the most pervasive form of violence in Italy".

Changes pushed through in the past few years include the obligatory arrest of those caught in the act of stalking or physical abuse, and a law meaning that, once lodged, legal complaints cannot be withdrawn, and that victims must be kept up to date on their attacker's legal status.

And there have been promising signs that the crackdown is working, including an increase in the number of men seeking professional help to deal with anger and violence issues, and a year-on-year decrease in all forms of gendered violence between November 2015 and November 2016, according to Interior Ministry figures. 

However, the rate of femicide (murder of a woman based on her gender) only dropped by three percent over that period, proving that much more work remains to be done.

READ MORE: How can Italy tackle gendered violence?

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


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also