Italy says it won't permit violence against women

Govt warns that it expects long battle against 'femicide'

Italy says it won't permit violence against women

Strasbourg, September 10 - Italy expects a long battle against the abuse of women, but it has taken major first steps, a government official said Tuesday. Since signing the Council of Europe's Istanbul Convention condemning violence against women, the Italian government has approved its own law to address the phenomenon, said Cecilia Guerra, deputy minister for labour and social policies. "The government's adherence to the principles of this (Istanbul) convention is very strong," said Guerra. Italy also recognizes that laws and punishment are not enough, but must be reinforced with new social behaviours, she added. Government policy includes a national action plan that will include awareness campaigns for schools, health facilities as well as better coordination between social agencies, she said. Italy has been plagued by a spate of violent crimes against women and murders by partners, ex-boyfriends and husbands, as well as at the hands of strangers, say human rights groups. "Sexual violence causes more fatalities among women in Italy than cancer and is most often committed by a spouse or former partner," Maria Gabriella Carnieri Moscatelli, president of the Italian emergency hotline Telefono Rosa, said in December. The Istanbul Convention describes violence against women as a form of discrimination and as a violation of human rights.

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