Italy. Sexual violence by strangers - Labirint
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Italy. Sexual violence by strangers

    Italy. Sexual violence by strangers

    We have collected instructions, recommendations and contacts, which can help you in the chosen country and situation

    If you are in danger now/assess whether you need emergency help:

    01. Call the police

    How to call the police:

    Phone number: 112 (European Emergency Number; calling is free of charge and the service is available 24/7 in multiple languages).

    Other ways to contact the police:

    Go to the police yourself. You can go either to the headquarters of the Polizia di Stato or of Carabinieri. Visit the following websites (only available in Italian) to know what is the nearest headquarter:

    You can also go after having previously booked an appointment by phone. Ask to speak with the personnel specifically dealing with domestic violence.

      Download and use the app Youpol (see the section on apps for more information).

    Do I need documents/being registered in the country to call the police?

    No

    If I have any migration issues (e.g., visa overstay), is it safe for me to call the police? Can an administrative case be initiated against me?

    If you are not a regular immigrant, refugee or asylum seeker and you call the police, an administrative case may be initiated against you. Within the notion of foreigner regularly staying in the country, the case law has included also the foreigner who has an administrative or judicial procedure underway, the outcome of which may result in the issuance of the resident permit. If you have any migration issues, it may be safer to contact an anti-violence support center rather than the police. See below to learn how to contact them.

    Can I say that I am a victim of domestic violence? Authorities’ formal and informal attitudes.

    You can say you are a victim of domestic violence. Normally, the authorities will help you. However, in rare cases, the police might be unhelpful or reluctant to act. For example, they may diminish your experience, lessen the gravity of the situation or not believe you. In such cases, contact an anti-violence support center (see below). You have a right to get information on anti-violence support centers from the police and to be put in contact with them directly, too.

    What should I say to the authorities?

    Always tell the truth, answer their questions truthfully and explain what happened. If you are fearing for your life or physical and psychological integrity and/or that of a family member, clearly state so. Ask for help and, if necessary, for their immediate intervention. Once you get in touch with the authorities, different scenarios are possible:

    • You can simply explain the situation and ask for possible solutions;
    • In less serious cases (for example, repeated threats or harassments that generate in you a state of anxiety or fear for your safety) or if you do not feel ready to formally report the crime, you can request an admonishment, namely an administrative act that admonishes the perpetrator not to continue with their behavior. This act is rather quick to obtain. If the perpetrator continues the prohibited behaviors, they will then be automatically charged with the crime of persecutory acts (stalking) (see below for the relevant provision). You can afterwards request to withdraw the admonishment;
    • You can formally report the crime. Depending on the type of crime being committed against you, you have different time limits to respect to do so:

    §  in case of not serious blows and personal injuries (meaning that will heal in maximum three months), you have maximum three months from the day of the violence; make sure you clarify you want the authorities to prosecute and try the perpetrator for the crimes; you can withdraw your report until a judgment is delivered;

    §  in case of sexual violence, you have 12 months; make sure you clarify you want the authorities to prosecute and try the perpetrator for the crime; in this case, you cannot withdraw your report;

    §  in case of serious personal injuries and mistreatments, there is no time limit; the crimes can be reported by anyone and the authorities can decide to pursue them on their own once they are informed of the crimes.

    If you decide to formally report the crime (or if you requested an admonishment, which was then afterwards violated), a criminal proceedings will be initiated against the perpetrator. 

    How long will it take the police to come?

    This depends on the gravity of the situation; if your life is in danger, clarify this—chances are they will come more quickly.

    What should I do if they do not come?

    Go to the police yourself or, if not possible, call 1522, the national number for victims of violence and stalking (see below for more information).

    What should I say when they come?

    See above.

    Will the police remove the perpetrator from the house? For how long?

    After you report the crime, a judge will decide whether it is necessary that the perpetrator be removed from the family house and prohibited against entering it if the crimes of mistreatments, aggravated threat or serious personal injuries. In urgent cases, the police can immediately remove the perpetrator from the house. In both cases, it is necessary a) that the perpetrator is either seen committing the crime (i.e. using violence on you) or there are elements that indicate that a crime has just been committed (e.g. blood on you or on his hands); and b) that there are reasonable reasons to believe the acts of violence will continue and will put your life or your psychological and physical integrity (or the one of one of your family members living with you) in actual and serious danger. For how long it will be decided by a judge. The police can also arrest the perpetrator if caught in the act of committing the crime.

    The judge will also decide if and when the perpetrator is authorized to enter the house. For example, specific visit modalities can be decided. The measure cannot last more than a year. You can also request the judge to oblige the perpetrator to pay you a monthly allowance for you and your children.

    Alternatively, you can decide to leave the house and seek shelter in an anti-violence shelter (see below). If your residence permit was based on family reasons and you report the violence, you will be granted a special residence permit as long as you cooperate with the authorities during the criminal proceedings. This residence permit can be converted for work reasons and allows taking charge of your minor children.

    If there is no imminent danger for you, the perpetrator will not be removed from the house and you can also stay in the house. In that case, the perpetrator will be informed of the fact you reported the crime only when it is safe to do so.

    Are there any restraining orders? How do they work?

    The removal of the perpetrator of the house is a restraining order. The judge can also prohibit the perpetrator from coming close to places that you or your family members habitually visit (e.g. the school attended by the children, the gym you go to, where you work, etc.) and from communicating with you. If necessary, further more severe restraining orders can be applied by the judge (e.g. detention). An electronic tag can also be applied in certain cases.

    What can I do if the order is violated?

    The violation of the aforementioned orders is punished with imprisonment from 6 months to 3 years. You should inform the police if this happens.

    What will happen next?

    If you have formally reported the crime, (or if you requested an admonishment, which was then afterwards violated), a criminal proceedings will be initiated against the perpetrator. There will be an investigation and, if there is evidence that the crime has been committed, a trial, at the end of which they will be considered guilty or innocent. The perpetrator does not risk being fired from their job until a sentence is passed. In certain cases, their driving license might be revoked. Also their license to carry weapons will be revoked. Normally, you will be given exclusive custody of the children. In certain cases, the perpetrator will be authorized by the judge to visit the children under certain circumstances (for example, in the presence of social services). If you have not formally reported the crime, custody will be normally shared in case of separation.

    What rights do I have?

    As a victim, the law grants you certain rights and powers. You can exercise them personally or through a lawyer. For instance, you have the right to present memoranda and indicate pieces of evidence both during the investigations and later. You can also request the public prosecutor to collect in advance certain pieces of evidence that might risk deterioration (e.g. analysis of blood in a house). You have the right to be warned when certain inspections are conducted and can nominate consultants to give their opinion on the inspection (for example, in case of attempts in reconstructing the actual dynamic of the crime). In case you are called to testify at trial, you have the right to do so through ‘protected modalities’, for example, avoiding to meet the perpetrator. You also have further rights to be informed during the proceedings (for example, in case the public prosecutor has requested to close the investigations without opening a trial, about when and where the trial will take place and about modification in the applied restraining orders on which the victim can give their opinions) and has the right to consult all the acts and documents of the proceedings. Such information is provided if you have expressly informed the authorities of where such information has to be sent or you have nominated a lawyer.

    You have the right to become a civil party in the trial against the perpetrator. To do so, you will need a lawyer. This would allow you to actively participate in the trial and, in case the perpetrator will be convicted, you will be granted a damage compensation.

    If your minor child has witnessed the violence, they are to be considered as well a victim and can also become a civil party. ​​

    Victims of stalking and domestic and sexual violence can always be granted free legal aid. If you are a victim of other less serious crimes, you can be granted free legal aid if your taxable income is equal or less than 11,369.24 euros (net of the deductible duties). To access the lists of lawyers that can provide free legal aid, contact the bar nearby (look for “Ordine degli avvocati di [insert your province] lista avvocato gratuito patrocinio” on Google search). Contact the lawyer: they will help you in submitting a free legal aid application.

    In case you find yourself in a particularly difficult personal situation, you also have the right to be assisted free of charge by a ‘guardian’ that could help you out in looking after your interests. You can request this form of assistance at the civil tribunal or you can speak with the social services so that they can activate the procedure.

    If I want to withdraw a complaint, can I do this?

    You can withdraw your report until a judgment is delivered only in case of not serious blows and personal injuries (meaning that will heal in maximum three months).

    Remember, you have 12 months to report the crime. Make sure you clarify you want the authorities to prosecute and try the perpetrator for the crime. In this case, you cannot withdraw your report. If you decide to formally report the crime, a criminal proceedings will be initiated against the perpetrator.  If necessary, restraining orders will be applied to the perpetrator (for instance, house arrest or detention).

    N.B. It is always advised to have a qualified lawyer assisting you in every step. Victims of sexual violence can always be granted free legal aid. See above for more information.

    N.B. If you do not speak Italian, ask for an interpreter (“Ho bisogno di aiuto, non parlo italiano. Posso parlare con un interprete?”). See above for more information.

    How to get in touch with the anti-violence centres?

    Phone number: 1522 (national number for victims of violence and stalking; calling is free of charge and the service is available 24/7; you can get assistance in multiple languages, including Russian and Ukrainian).

    Other ways to get in touch with the anti-violence centres:

     Chat with an operator on the website (available in multiple languages);

    Download on your mobile phone and use the app 1522 Anti Violenza e Stalking.

    Do I need documents/being registered in the country to call the anti-violence centres?

    No

    If I have any migration issues (e.g., visa overstay), is it safe for me to the anti-violence centres? Can an administrative case be initiated against me?

    It is safe to call this number. You will remain anonymous. The anti-violence centres themselves are also open to non-regular immigrants.

    Can I say that I am a victim of domestic violence? Authorities’ formal and informal attitudes.

    You can say you are a victim of domestic violence. You will speak with people that have the necessary expertise to deal with the issue and with you as a victim. They will help you.

    What should I say?

    Always tell the truth, answer their questions truthfully and explain what happened. If you are fearing for your life or physical and psychological integrity and/or that of a family member, clearly state so. Ask for help.

    Which kind of help can I get?

    You will get legal advice, psychological support and support on different levels. Some anti-violence centres also have protected residencies in which, in the most serious cases, victims can be hosted to escape further violence.

    02. Get medical help

    How to get medical help?

    Phone number: 112 (European Emergency Number; calling is free of charge and the service is available 24/7 in multiple languages; you should call 112 only if it is a medical emergency and you cannot go to the hospital yourself). If you need urgent medical assistance but you can go to the hospital yourself, go to the nearest hospital’s emergency room. If it is not a medical emergency, you should call your assigned general practitioner or, outside their working hours, the doctor on call in your city.

    Do I need money/documents/being registered in the country to get medical help?

    No. Even if you are in Italy illegally, you have the right to urgent and essential care for disease or injury as well as to other minimal essential services to safeguard the individual and collective health (for example, protection of the minor’s health or of the pregnant women and vaccinations). This includes all those sanitary, diagnostic and therapeutic services that, even if not dangerous at the moment or in the near future, can cause a more serious damage to the health of the person or risks for their life, i.e. complications, chronicization or deterioration and/or that cannot be postponed without a danger to the life or damage to person’s health. If you do not have sufficient economical means, you can certify your condition through a self-declaration; in that case, medical care will be free.

    If I have migration issues (e.g., visa overstay), is it safe for me to ask for medical help? Can an administrative case be initiated against me? If medical staff suspect that I am a victim of crime, do they have to report to the police?

    Access to healthcare facilities by foreigners who do not comply with the rules on residence must not lead to any kind of report to the authorities, unless the medical staff is subject to an obligation of medical report, on the same conditions to which Italian citizenships are subjected. Medical staff employed by the national health service (for example, doctors working in public hospitals) or affiliated with it (for example, in clinics that are affiliated with the public service) have a general obligation to report certain crimes, including personal injuries, sexual violence and family mistreatments. There is no obligation for the crime of persecutory acts, unless the crime is connected with other serious crimes. Self-employed practitioners not linked with the national health service have no obligation to report the crime if: 1) doing so would either expose you to criminal proceedings or themselves or a family member to detrimental effects; or 2) if they have not directly assisted you (for example, in case they have learnt about the crime by a colleague). This legal framework makes access to medical care very difficult for irregular immigrants. At the local level, there are some associations that attempt to offer safe medical care to irregular immigrants. One of the biggest ones is in Milan and it is called “Associazione Naga”, (website available only in Italian), +39 02 58102599

    What rights do I have?

    You have the right to urgent and essential care as well as to other minimal essential services.

    What should I say to medical staff?

    Always tell the truth, answer their questions truthfully and explain what happened. Ask for a medical report on your conditions and make sure you do not lose the report.

    What will happen next?

    If a crime is formally reported, criminal proceedings will be initiated against the perpetrator. There will be an investigation and, if there is evidence that the crime has been committed, a trial, at the end of which they will be considered guilty or innocent. See above for more information.

    N.B. Remember, this is the international ‘violence at home’ signal for help! You may want to use it to communicate that you need help in a subtle way.

    Legislation punishing domestic and intimate partner sexual violence:

    Only one provision of the Criminal Code deals with domestic violence and other violence specifically committed against family members or cohabitating partners: Article 572 of the Criminal Code.

    Article 572 Criminal Code – Mistreatments against family members or cohabitants

    Outside of the cases of the previous Article [abuse of means of correction or discipline], anyone who mistreats a family member or a person living with them, or a person under his authority or entrusted to them for reasons of education, instruction, care, supervision or custody, or for the exercise of a profession or an art, is punished with imprisonment from three to seven years. The penalty is increased by up to half if the offense is committed in the presence or to the detriment of a minor person, a pregnant woman or a person with disabilities as defined in accordance with article 3 of law no. 104, or if the fact is committed with weapons. If the fact results in a serious personal injury, a prison term of between four and nine years is applied; if the result is a very serious injury, imprisonment from seven to fifteen years; if it results in death, imprisonment from twelve to twenty-four years. Anyone under the age of eighteen who witnesses the mistreatment referred to in this article is considered a person offended by the crime.

    The other provisions deal with (sexual) violence committed by potentially anyone, including family members and partners.

    Article 612 bis Criminal Code – Persecutory acts (stalking)

    Unless the fact constitutes a more serious offense, anyone who, with repeated conduct, threatens or harasses someone in such a way as to cause a persistent and serious state of anxiety or fear or from fear generating a grounded for the safety of oneself or of a close relative or of a person linked to the same by an emotional relationship or to force him to alter his own habits of life is punished with imprisonment from one year to six years and six months. The penalty is greater if the offense is committed by the spouse, even separated or divorced, or by a person who is or has been linked by an emotional relationship to the injured person or if the offense is committed through IT or telematics tools. The penalty is greater up to half if the offense is committed to the detriment of a minor, a pregnant woman or a person with disabilities referred to in article 3 of law no. 104, or with weapons or by a misrepresented person. The crime is punished upon complaint by the injured person. The deadline for filing a lawsuit is six months. The remission of the complaint can only be procedural. The complaint is in any case irrevocable if the fact was committed through repeated threats in the manner referred to in article 612, second paragraph. However, one proceeds ex officio if the offense is committed against a minor or a person with disabilities referred to in article 5 February 1992, n. 104, as well as when the fact is connected with another crime for which one must proceed ex officio.

    Article 581 Criminal Code – Blows

    Anyone who strikes someone, if the fact does not result in an illness in the body or in the mind, is punished, upon complaint of the injured person, unless the aggravating circumstance provided for by article 61, number 11-octies occurs, with imprisonment of up to six months or with a fine of up to € 309. This provision does not apply when the law considers violence as a constituent element or as an aggravating circumstance of another crime.

    Article 582 Criminal Code – Personal injuries

    Anyone who causes a personal injury to anyone, from which an illness in the body or mind derives, is punished with imprisonment from six months to three years. f the illness has a duration not exceeding twenty days and none of the aggravating circumstances provided for in articles 61, number 11-octies), 583 and 585 concur, with the exception of those indicated in number 1 and in the last part of article 577, the crime is punishable upon complaint by the injured party.

    Article 609 bis Criminal Code – Sexual Violence

    Anyone who, by violence or threat or by abuse of authority forces someone to perform or undergo sexual acts is punished with imprisonment from six to twelve years. The same penalty is subject to anyone who induces someone to perform or undergo sexual acts: 1) abusing the physical or mental inferiority of the injured person at the time of the fact; 2) deceiving the injured person for having replaced the guilty person for another person. In less serious cases, the penalty is reduced by no more than two thirds.

    Article 609 ter Criminal Code – Aggravated Circumstances

    The penalty laid down in Article 609 bis shall be increased by a third if the acts referred to therein are committed:

    1) against a person of whom the offender is the ascendant, parent, including adoptive parent, or guardian;

    2) with the use of weapons or alcoholic, narcotic or narcotic substances or other instruments or substances seriously injurious to the health of the offended person;

    3) by a person disguised or simulating the capacity of public official or person in charge of a public service;

    4) on a person otherwise subject to restrictions on personal liberty;

    5) on a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years;

    5-bis) within or in the immediate vicinity of an educational or training establishment attended by the offended person;

    5-ter) against pregnant women;

    5-quater) against a person of whom the offender is the spouse, including a separated or divorced spouse, or a person to whom the offender is or has been linked by a relationship of affection, even without cohabitation;

    5-quinquies) if the offence is committed by a person who is a member of a criminal organization and for the purpose of facilitating its activity;

    5-sexies) if the offence is committed with serious violence or if, due to the repetition of the conduct, serious harm is caused to the child;

    5-septies) if the act causes danger to the child’s life.

    The penalty laid down in Article 609 bis shall be increased by half if the acts referred to therein are committed against a person under the age of fourteen. The penalty is doubled if the acts referred to in Article 609 bis are committed against a person under ten years of age.

    Article 610 Criminal Code – Private Violence

    Anyone who, by violence or threatening, forces others to do, tolerate or omit something is punished with imprisonment of up to four years. The penalty is increased if the conditions set out in article 339 concur.

    Article 612Criminal Code – Threat

    Anyone who, by violence or threatening, forces others to do, tolerate or omit something is punished with imprisonment of up to four years. The penalty is increased if the conditions set out in article 339 concur.

    Article 660 Criminal Code – Harassment or nuisance to people

    Anyone who, in a public place or place open to the public, or by telephone, for petulance or for other blameworthy reason, harasses or disturbs someone is punished with arrest for up to six months or with fine of up to 516 euros.

    List of the main national (N)GOs who can help victims of domestic and sexual violence (for example, providing legal, psychological and social support):

    Telefono Rosa, (website available in multiple languages; you can also leave a message on the website)

    +39 0637518282 (service available 24/7), info@telefonorosa.it

    Differenza Donna, (website available in English), +39 06 678 0537, d.donna@differenzadonna.it

    D.i.Re – Donne in Rete contro la violenza, (website available in multiple languages, including Ukrainian)

    +39 392 720 0580, segreteria@direcontrolaviolenza.it

    Casa Internazionale delle Donne, (website available in English and Italian), + 39 0668401720

    segreteria@casainternazionaledelledonne.org

    Associazione Frida, (website available only in Italian), +39 346 75 78 833, apsfrida@gmail.com

    These associations work at the national level. They can direct you to one of the numerous (N)GOs and associations that work at the local level, nearby you.

    A non-exhaustive list of anti-violence shelters can be also found at this link. Select your region to find the nearest to you.

    Were our instructions helpful?

    We relied on the help of volunteers and lawyers when writing these instructions. If something is not correct – the organization didn’t respond to you, you found a mistake, or the instructions weren’t clear enough – tell us about it. Contact us at help@labirint.online

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