Italy’s national statistics agency Istat reported on March 28 that 8.3m women in the country have suffered psychological abuse. The data also show that just over one in five women (4.5m) have suffered some form of sexual violence, from rape to “degrading or humiliating” abuse.
A similar number (4.3m) had suffered physical violence, with 1.5% of these incidents leading to permanent damage, for example burns or complications following asphyxiation.
According to The Local, the most staggering figure was that more than 40% of women in Italy had suffered psychological abuse, a category which included physical or economic control as well as threats and verbal abuse.
Istat presented the data at a conference titled “Violence against women: The data and the instruments for understanding the statistics” on March 28. It described the phenomenon of gendered violence as “vast, widespread and occurring in many forms, seriously affecting women’s daily lives”.
According to the Local, 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those caught in the act of stalking or physical abuse, and a law meaning that, once lodged, legal complaints cannot be withdrawn, and that victims must be kept up to date on their attacker’s legal status.