Over two years of the pandemic have left noticeable scarsand in some cases indelible, on the still wounded body of the land. To pay the highest tribute they were, as always, the most vulnerable, beginning with children And teenagers. The image that emerges fromRegional index of child abuse in Italy edited by Foundation Cesvi, which in this year’s edition dedicates a special focus toimpact that the pandemic has had on child safety.
“The pandemic 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,” he explains. Gloria Zavattachairman of the fund.
Presented today at an online meeting moderated by Cristina Parodi, Ambassador of the Foundation, with the participation of Minister for Equal Opportunities and Family Elena Bonetti, the regional index of child abuse in Italy – prepared by the researchers Giovanna Badalassi And Federica Gentile analyzes the vulnerability of children in the individual Italian regions by analyzing the risk factors present in the area and the ability of local authorities to prevent and combat the phenomenon through the services offered. The result is a ranking based on 64 indicators classified with respect to six different capacities which represents the backbone of the index: the ability to care for oneself and others, live a healthy life, live a secure life, acquire knowledge and knowledge, work and access resources and services.
Cesvis’ work is an important contribution to the collective effort to prevent all forms of violence against boys and girls, to protect victims of abuse and to promote treatment. 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 collection of data “, commented Minister of Family and Gender Equality Elena Bonetti.
Child abuse remains one problem especially serious and consistently in the business it produces dramatic consequences for abused health 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 put on their children, which generates a vicious cycle of intergenerational transmission, which only an 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 PANDEMY ON CHILDREN The results of interviews conducted with local service operators (health, school, judiciary), focus on child safety during the Covid pandemic returns an alarming picture of the state of health, physically and mentally, for young and very young people.
Boomed in emergency room access for neuropsychiatric disorders is the most tangible sign of one widespread malaise. Suffice it to say that in the first year of the pandemic alone, the Italian Society of Pediatrics recorded an increase in admissions of over 80%. Suicidal thoughts, depression And eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) the main causes. A deterioration in health, especially among young people, certified by Istat: In the second year of the pandemic, the mental health index drops markedly in the age group 14-19, while the number of young people who declare themselves dissatisfied doubles.
A trend also confirmed byincrease in crime committed against children and young people during the pandemic. According to data from the criminal police, ie abuse of family members and minors living together registered a plus of 11% in 2020. In the first year of lockdown also i.a. child pornography and solicitation crimes (+ 77%).
VIOLENCE IN THE HOME AND ASSISTANT VIOLENCE That violence against women. The data collected by anti-violence and stalking number 1522 highlight 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 of minors. According to Istat estimates, about 50% of children witness violence, while 10% suffer from it.
THE NATIONAL FRAMEWORK The index also provides this year’s picture of an Italy with two speeds: confirmshigh criticism of southern Italy which remains below the national average while dreadful improvements are recorded. The last four positions of the index are occupied as in the previous edition of Campania (20 °) Sicily (19 °), Calabria (18 °) and Puglia (17 °). The small advances observed in some indicators or capacities have not yet reached such an extent that it changes their general situation. The regions have namely important overall system criticalities, thus emphasizing there is an urgent need for medium-term structural intervention plans acting simultaneously on both risk factors and the whole system of services.
In this fifth editionEmilia Romagna it returns to being the region with the best ability to deal with child abuse, in a final synthesis between risk factors and services (only in 2021 did it give priority to Trentino-Alto Adige). They follow Trentino-Alto Adige (2nd), Veneto (3rd), Friuli-Venezia Giulia (4th), Tuscany (5th) And Liguria (6 °)which is confirmed among the top positions.
This year there are eight regions “Very critical”, or those 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. Between regions “virtuous” – 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, Aosta Valley, Umbria. Piedmont, which last year was included among the “virtuous” regions, joins this year along with Sardinia to the cluster of “reactive” areas, that is, responding to high criticalities in risk factors with services above the national average. Between “stable” regionsyou find Lazio and as every year Lombardy.
STRUCTURAL INTERVENTION URGENT It is clear how the pandemic has put pressure on services in the area, which are already lacking, making it no longer possible to postpone structural action plan. 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, they will be able to structurally change human behavior And promote specific and targeted policies to understand the indirect effects on child abuse.
“We reiterate the need for systemic and medium-term action for policies to prevent and combat ill-treatment. It is important to act on both risk factors and the whole system of services to adapt and improve them. We call on the institution to invest resources in health immediately. , education and the judiciary.We emphasize in particular the need to have more accurate data on the extent of abuse to childhood in Italy and to reduce the social and economic divide in the southern regions through the practical implementation of LIVEAS (Significant levels of social assistance). If we do not intervene today, the health and social costs for the next generations will be unsustainable “, he adds Zavatta.
THE HOUSES FOR CESVI’S SMILE 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 as well, where the needs and conditions of poverty increasingly represent an endemic problem. must be addressed in an integrated and long-term manner. In particular, through the Case del Sorriso program, which is active in various cities in Italy, it deals with the fight and the contrast against abuse and neglect, protection, contrast to school dropouts and encourages children through recovery measures to achieve their own ambitions. The Case del Sorriso program transforms the horror of abuse into the love and care of children under vulnerable conditions.
Is it possible support the Case del Sorriso program by sending an SMS to 45580.
Credit Photo Cesvi_Napoli_Photo Roger Lo Guarro