The Italian government passed a law on Friday to combat gender-based violence and improve suspect surveillance, amid mounting concerns over high rates of hate crimes against women.
According to the Interior Ministry, 93 women were slain by partners or family in 2021, while almost 4,000 women have been sexually raped this year and 13,990 have been stalked.
The law, which must be passed by parliament, allows police to pursue action against suspects even if the victim does not report the crime – a step aimed at assisting women who are reluctant to file formal charges.
“It was necessary to act in order to prevent such things from happening,” Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese told a news conference that she held alongside seven other female ministers of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government.
Economic support will be provided to victims to encourage them to report offences while a jail term will be handed down on suspects who try to tamper with electronic bracelets, which are meant to keep tabs on their movements.
If a woman is believed to be in danger, police can decide to monitor her home to protect her.
“We have decided to set up, for the most serious cases, dynamic protection and supervision which will not affect the freedom of the victim, but at the same time will safeguard her life,” said Regional Affairs Minister Mariastella Gelmini.
The new bill comes just two years after parliament passed a law that imposed tougher penalties, including longer prison sentences, for those found guilty of violent attacks on women, sexual abuse and stalking. It also said cases had to be dealt with by courts as a priority and investigations fast-tracked.
However the 2019 measures have done little to end the assaults.