ITALY: Violence against children up, says rights group

Summary: Sexual violence against children is up from previous years, with the majority of victims being girls.

 [1 October 2012] - Violence against children in Italy has risen since 2010, said a report released on Monday by children rights' group Terre des Hommes.

Girls are the most common victims, said the organisation in preparation for the launch of their new campaign 'Indifesa' or 'Defenseless' advocating the protection of children in Italy and around the world.

In 2010 the number of children who suffered abuse in Italy was 4,319. In 2011, the number jumped to 4,946, 61 per cent of whom were girls. The report said that the increase particularly regarded the corruption of minors, with the number of victims up to 446, an increase of 238 per cent over the previous year.

By far the greatest increase in violence against children recorded in 2011 was exploitation through pornographic material, up 363 per cent, directly affecting 74 children, 57 per cent of them girls. The report says that there were 434 victims of aggravated sexual assault in 2011, 82 per cent of whom were girls. Abuse in the family persists as the most common, reaching a record high of 1,164 cases in 2011, 160 more than in 2010.

"All over the world little girls are still the silent and invisible victims of violence and abuse," says Federica Giannotta from Terre des Hommes. "This campaign is intended to spotlight the extreme vulnerability to violence and abuse of children in Italy and in the world," said Giannotta. 


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