Italy records a big increase in femicides over the past year

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The number of femicides in Italy has risen by almost 16% over the past year, with the vast majority taking place in a family context.

Data published by the interior ministry on Monday showed 125 femicides between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022, compared with 108 during the same period in the previous year.

Of that figure, 108 of the murders were committed in a “family-emotional” setting, with 68 women killed by either their partner or former partner.

The data shows a woman is killed on average every three days in Italy.

On 27 July, Marzia Bettino, 58, was killed in her home in Genova. Her husband was arrested. The couple had been going through a separation when she was killed. Two days earlier Valentina Di Mauro, 33, was killed in her home near Lake Como. Di Mauro’s partner has been arrested.

“The interior ministry data speaks for itself: if other crimes are decreasing, femicides are going up,” said Elisa Ercoli, the president of the Differenza Donna, an organisation that aims to combat gender-based violence and promotes women’s rights. “This is a clear consequence of a total underestimation of institutional policy for this type of crime.”

Based on 2018 data, a report published last November by the European Institute for Gender Equality placed Italy ninth out of 15 EU countries for the number of murders of women by partners or former partners and 10th for femicides committed by relatives.

Related: ‘Life should mean life’: Italian activists call for tougher femicide laws

“If you look at the data over the past five years, the numbers aren’t so different from one year to the next,” said Luisa Rizzitelli, a coordinator in Italy for One Billion Rising, the global network fighting to end violence against women.

“The thing which I believe is very terrifying, is that we never been to be able to change direction. The fact that the number of murders of women is rising is a testament of the failure of the policies we have in place. There are always around 100 or more femicides each year, and this, in a civilised country, is unacceptable.”

The most recent reported femicide, which will be recorded in next year’s figures, was on 7 August, when Silvana Arena, 74, was beaten to death with a stick, allegedly by her husband, at their home in Venaria, near Turin.