ROME – There is alarm in the South, while Emilia-Romagna regains the lead from the most virtuous regions in terms of tackling child abuse. Among the very young, there is a boom in access to emergency rooms for suicide attempts, depression and eating disorders. Crimes against minors are on the rise. Domestic violence against women is also on the rise. In short, over two years of pandemic have left obvious and in some cases indelible scars on the still injured body of the country. The most vulnerable, starting with children and young people, paid the highest toll. The picture, which emerges from the regional index of child abuse in Italy, edited by Cesvi Foundationwhich in this year’s edition dedicates a special focus to the impact that the pandemic has had on child safety.
All risk factors increased. The Pandemic – explains Gloria Zavatta, President of Foundation “it has dramatically increased all the risk factors underlying child abuse and in many cases acts as a detonator in situations of past difficulties: poverty and unemployment, deterioration of mental health, isolation and contraction of social relationships”. today on the occasion of an online meeting moderated by Cristina Parodi, Ambassador for Cesviwith the participation of the Minister for Equal Opportunities and the Elena Bonetti family, analyzes the Regional Index on Child Abuse in Italy – edited by Giovanna Badalassi and Federica Gentile – children’s vulnerability in individual Italian regions, through the analysis of the risk factors present in the area and local administrations ability to prevent and combat the phenomenon through the services offered.
The analysis’s 64 indicators. The result is a ranking based on 64 indicators classified in terms of six different capacities that represent the backbone of the index: ability to care for oneself and others, to live a healthy life, to live a secure life, to acquire knowledge and knowledge. , to work and access resources and services. “The work of Cesvi – commented the Minister for Family and Equal Opportunities Elena Bonetti – it is an important contribution to the collective efforts to prevent all forms of violence against boys and girls, protect victims of abuse and promote treatment options. In fact, structural interventions are needed so that services in the territory are uniform at national level. In the same way, it is important to promote knowledge and monitoring of the phenomenon through systematic data collection ”.
The pain burden from abused ex-children. Child abuse remains a particularly serious and pervasive problem in society, which has dramatic consequences for the health of the addicts in the short and long term, on their psycho-physical balance and more generally on society as a whole. Abused ex-children become adults living with a heavy burden of pain that they often place on their children, generating a vicious cycle of intergenerational transmission that only external intervention can interrupt. Violence against minors is therefore a systemic phenomenon which cannot be traced solely to family relational dynamics, but which represents a serious public health problem before, during and after the pandemic, and which requires a global approach.
The effect of the pandemic on minors. The results of interviews conducted with local service operators (health, school, judiciary) give focus on child safety during the Covid pandemic an alarming picture of the state of health, physically and mentally, for young and very young people. The boom in access to emergency rooms for neuropsychiatric disorders is the most tangible sign of widespread malaise. Suffice it to say that only in the first year of the pandemic Italian Society of Pediatrics recorded an increase in recordings of over 80%. Suicidal ideation, depression and eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) are the main causes. A deterioration in health, especially among young people, certified byIstat: in the second year of the pandemic, the mental health index falls markedly in the 14-19 age group, while the number of young people declaring themselves dissatisfied doubles. A trend that is also confirmed by the increase in crimes committed by children and young people during the pandemic. According to data from the criminal police, abuse of family members and minor cohabitants registered an increase of 11% in 2020. In the first year of the shutdown, crimes in the form of child pornography and online solicitation also grew exponentially (+ 77%).
Domestic violence and witnessing violence. Violence against women is also on the rise. The data collected by anti-violence and stalking number 1522 shows a sharp increase in calls in the first phase of the shutdown. The place where the violence occurs most often is the victim’s home. However, the increase in reports is not offset by an increase in reports. The police forces found a sharp drop in reports of abuse, stalking and sexual violence, a direct consequence of confinement in the home and thus of the greater control that the cohabitant exercises. The violence that takes place indoors can result in violence that minors witness. According to estimates fromIstatabout 50% of children witness violence, while 10% suffer from it.
The national framework. The index again this year gives the picture of an Italy with two speeds: the high criticality of southern Italy is confirmed, which remains below the national average, while fearsome improvements are recorded. The last four positions in the index are, as in the previous edition, occupied by Campania (20th), Sicily (19th), Calabria (18th) and Puglia (17th). The small advances observed in some indicators or capacities have not yet reached such an extent that it changes their overall situation. The regions are in fact presenting important overarching systemic problems, which underlines the urgency of medium-term structural intervention plans, which are at the same time concerned with both risk factors and the overall service system.
The ranking of the Italian regions. In this fifth edition, Emilia-Romagna is again the region with the best ability to tackle child abuse, in a final synthesis between risk factors and services (only in 2021 did it give priority to Trentino-Alto Adige). Followed by Trentino-Alto Adige (2nd), Veneto (3rd), Friuli-Venezia Giulia (4th), Tuscany (5th) and Liguria (6th), which are confirmed among the top places.
This year, there are eight “very critical” regions. That is, the areas where, in the light of high environmental problems, represented by high risk factors, there is no response from the service system: Campania, Sicily, Calabria, Puglia, Molise, Basilicata, Abruzzo and Marche. Among the “virtuous” regions – with low risk factors and a good level of service in the area – we find eight of the nine regions already present in the 2021 edition of the index: Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Emilia – Romagna, Veneto, Liguria, Tuscany, Valle d’Aosta, Umbria. Piedmont, which last year was included among the “virtuous” regions, joins this year, along with Sardinia, in the cluster of “reactive” regions, that is, those that respond to high criticism of risk factors with services above the national average. Among the “stable” regions are Lazio and, as every year, Lombardy.
Structural interventions are urgent. It is clear that the pandemic has put pressure on services in the area, which are already lacking, which means that a structural intervention plan can no longer be postponed. Taking proactive action to strengthen the resilience, treatment and education of caregivers of individuals and families is therefore increasingly urgent, as is investing in an increasingly supportive and inclusive social capital. With this in mind, it will be possible to structurally change human behavior and promote specific policies aimed at understanding the indirect effects on child abuse.
“Systemic and medium-term actions”. “We reiterate the need for systemic and medium-term action for policies to prevent and combat ill-treatment,” adds Zavatta. In particular, we emphasize the need to have more accurate data on the extent of child abuse in Italy and to reduce the social and economic divide in the southern regions through the implementation practices of LIVEAS (Essential). Levels of social assistance). we do not intervene today, the social and health costs for future generations will be unsustainable “,
The houses of smiles from CESVI. To cope with this emergency, CESVI has over the years increased its commitment to the benefit of minors in difficulty in our country, and brought consolidated experience to the rest of the world here too, where the needs and conditions of poverty increasingly represent an endemic problem, to be addressed in an integrated and long-term manner. Especially through the program Case del Sorriso active in various cities in Italy, it deals with the fight and the fight against ill-treatment and neglect, protection, the fight against school drop-outs and encourages children through recovery measures to achieve their ambitions. The Case del Sorriso program transforms the horror of abuse into the love and care of children under vulnerable conditions.
Support possible. It is possible to take the program Case del Sorriso by sending one SMS to 45580.