in brief: italy moves to curb violence against women
The Italian parliament has adopted a draft bill to tackle violence against women, prompted by increasing rates of ‘femicide’ in the country.
A number of femicides in the media, namely the murder of 16-year-old Fabiana Luzzi who was stabbed and burned alive in May, and pleas by the United Nations to tackle the issue have hastened the Italian parliament into a decree of emergency measures to combat gendered violence.
A United Nations investigation shows the rate of femicide in Italy has increased in the past two decades, whereas the rate of homicide over the whole population has declined.
Specifically, femicides went from accounting for 15.3% of homicides in 1992 to 1994 to 23.8% between 2007 and 2008.
81 Italian women were killed in the first half of this year, with approximately 75% of the murders perpetrated by a romantic partner or family member.
Italy ratified its commitment to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention) in June.
The draft legislation would see a number of changes to the current way the Italian legal system deals with domestic violence and femicide.
Under the law, domestic violence and femicide cases will be given priority over the hearing of other matters in the Italian courts, with the victim to receive legal aid and representation regardless of income.
Violent partners will be removed from the home with victims updated on the legal outcome of investigations and whether the perpetrator is incarcerated or released from prison.
Crimes witnessed by minors will attract a penalty 1.3 times greater than the minimum sentence.
All complaints (or ‘querela’) lodged with the police will be investigated and cannot be withdrawn by the victim as has often occurred due to intimidation by the offender.
Perpetrators caught stalking or abusing women will be immediately arrested, regardless of a querela.
The law would also see Italy extend a humanitarian hand to illegal immigrants who suffer domestic violence on their soil, granting residency to the victim.
What do you think of this draft legislation?
Are stronger laws the remedy to the problem of violence against women?
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