One woman killed every three days in Italy

Number of women killed in Italy so far in 2020 down slightly from same 10-month period last year but still one murder every three days.

91 women have been killed in Italy in the first 10 months of 2020, compared to 99 during the same period last year, according to a report by the EU research agency Eures.

The study found that the number of victims of femicide in Italy this year equates to a woman killed every three days, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The report was released yesterday, ahead of the United Nations-backed International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, held annually on 25 November.

The number of femicides that occurred in a family setting from January to October this year was 81, down from 85 in the same period last year.

The number of femicides within the context of a couple remains unchanged at 56 (the same number as January-October 2019), while the number of women killed by neighbours rose from zero to four.

The Eures report found that 3,344 women were murdered in Italy from 2000 to 31 October 2020, accounting for 30 per cent of the 11,133 overall murders in the country over the last two decades.

Women killed by partners or ex-partners accounted for 66.2 per cent of domestic femicides and 61.5 per cent of all women murdered, reports ANSA, and the killers are 94 per cent male.

Italy's covid-19 lockdown acted as an "accelerator" of femicides, according to Eures, with domestic killings accounting for 80.8 per cent of the total during the three-month lockdown earlier this year.

This factor was acknowledged yesterday by Italian premier Giuseppe Conte who said that "due to the restrictive measures" during the coronavirus emergency "we involuntarily created profound distress," causing the number of cases of femicide to "triple during the lockdown."

This phenomenon is not unique to Italy, with the United Nations citing restricted movement, social isolation and economic insecurity due to covid-19 as factors in increasing women’s vulnerability to violence in the home around the world.

The UN has said that violence against women and girls is "one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it."

The UN estimates that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives.

Women suffering from gender-based violence in Italy can seek support from the volunteers at the multi-lingual women’s helpline Telefona Rosa.