Italy Strengthens The Law To Support Victims Of Domestic Violence

Author:Ms Federica Brondoni
Profession:Giambrone & Partners

Women in Italy are tolerating an unacceptable level of domestic violence which can often lead to the tragedy of femicide; women are nearly always murdered by their partners or former partners. In an attempt to halt the rising instance of assaults against women by their partners the recent ruling coalition government (now defunct) responded by drafting the Codice Rosso or code red law in the hope of stemming the tide of domestic violence. The Senate overwhelmingly voted for the bill to be passed into law. The new law enshrines tougher penalties in the shape of longer prison sentences. The new law also categorises acid attacks as a specifically designated crime with sentencing guidelines related to it, rather than being caught in the general term of grievous bodily harm. Revenge porn is also recognised.

The new law provides for a significant uplift of the sentences that perpetrators of domestic violence against women can now expect to receive. Prison sentences of up to seven years can now be delivered. Stalking now carries a maximum sentence of six and half years and those individuals who participate is group attacks will now face a maximum sentence of 14 years. In a major change in the case of child rape, the State will now be able to bring charges against the suspect rather than the victim having to do so. Furthermore, in future, cases of domestic violence will have the investigation fast-tracked and there will be a court hearing within three days.

However, the Democratic Party (Partito Democratico) believes that the new law does not go far enough and that the original draft bill needed improvement, complaining that mainly focusing on increased prison sentences was insufficient and other measures are necessary to combat what was described as is "a structural phenomenon which shows no sign of diminishing...

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