Violence against women and domestic violence in relation to the Istanbul Convention

AuthorRenga, Simonetta
10 Violence against women and domestic violence in relation to the Istanbul
10.1 General (legal) context
10.1.1 Surveys and reports on issues of violence again st women and domestic violence
One of the objectives of the Extraordinary plan against violence provid ed under Article 5
of Dec ree No . 93/20 13 is to p rovide f or an nual data collection on cases of all forms of
violence, including a map of specialist support services. The decree also provides f or
coordination of the existing data collection (Paragraph 2 of Article 5). So far, data collection
on all forms of violence has been made available by ISTAT, the National In stitute for
Statistics. The ISTAT datasets are available to the public.
The latest collection of data on violence against women wa s led by ISTAT in cooperation
with the Department of Equal Opportunities and dates back to 2014. According to the
survey, 6 788 000 women have been victims of some form o f violence, either physical or
sexual, during their life, that is 31.5 % of women aged 16-70: 20.2 % have been the
victim of physical violence; 21 % of sexual violence; and 5.4 % of the most serious forms
of sexual violence such as rape and attempted rape. Furthermore, foreign women are
victims of sexual or p hysical violence on a similar scale to Italian women. However,
physical violence is experienced more frequently by foreign women, while sexual violence
is more commonly experienced by Italian wom en. Current and former partners of victims
are those who commit the most serious crimes: 62.7 % of rapes are committed by t he
current or the former partner, while in th e majority of cases of s exual harassment , the
perpetrators are unknown (76.8 %). As to the age of the victim, 10.6 % of wom en have
been victims of sexual violence prior to the age of 16. The rate of children witnessing
violence against women in cases has increased to 65.2 % (compared t o the 2006 figure
of 60.3 %). Women who ar e separated or divorced are far more exposed to physical or
sexual violence (51.4 % as compared to 31.5 % relating to all other cases). The situation
of women with disabilities or illnesses remains a great concern: 36 % of women with bad
health conditions and 36.6 % of those with serious limitations have been victims of
physical or sexual violence. The risk of b eing exposed to rape o r attempted rape doubles
compared to wom en without any health proble ms (10 % compared to 4.7 %). However,
compared to 2006, the number of sexual and p hysical violence cases has decreased from
13.3 % to 11.3 %. This is the result of an increased awareness by women of existing
protection tools and public opinion in general, in addition to an overall social climate of
condemnation and no tolerance for such crimes. Women are far more aware that they
have survived a crime (from 14.3 % to 29.6 % in case of violence by the partner) and the
violence is reported far more often to t he police ( up from 6.7 % to 11.8 %). Victims are
increasingly likely to talk about the violence with someone (up from 67.8 % to 75.9 %)
and look for professional help (up from 2.4 % to 4.9 %). The same applies in the event of
violence by a non-partner. Compared to the 2006 figures, survivors are far more satisfied
with the relevant work carried out by the police.
The improved data are certainly linked to the enactment of Decree No. 93/2013
implementing the Istanbul Convention. Conversely, negative results emerge in relation to
cases of rape or attempted rape. The forms of such violence are far more serious and
there has been an increase in the number of victims with injuries (from 26.3 % to 40.2 %
in cases wh en the partner is the perpetrat or); and an increase in the number of women
who feared that their life was in dange r (from 18.8 % in 20 06 to 34.5 % in 2014). The
forms of violence inflicted by a non-partner are also more serious: 3 466 000 women
(16.1 %) have been victims of stalking during their lifetime, of whom 1 524 000 have
been stalked by their former partner and 2 2 29 000 by a person other than a former

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