Rome

Lower House starts discussion on femicide decree

Only 104 lawmakers present

Lower House starts discussion on femicide decree

Rome, August 20 - Italy's Lower House met on Tuesday for the presentation of a government bill approved earlier this month to stem a growing national problem - violence against women. Only 104 of the House's 630 lawmakers attended the summer session to start discussing the so-called femicide decree and assign it to the commissions which will have to examine the measure. The 12-point decree sets harsher penalties for those found guilty of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking. The measure became effective on August 8 but needs to be ratified by parliament. Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini said Tuesday that combating crimes against women requires "intervention on a cultural level, starting from school". "Repression of the phenomenon alone is not sufficient," Boldrini said during the House's debate. The bill, which also offers greater victim protection in particular to shield migrant women escaping violence, came as awareness is rising in Italy over high levels of violence against women. Over 80 women have been killed in Italy so far this year, mostly by exes, according to an unofficial death toll kept by national media. Many of the victims had reported stalking or harassment episodes to police.

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