Time.news – There are 401,766 children and young people taken care of by social services in Italy, 77,493 of whom are victims of maltreatment. These are the first and heavy data that emerge from the pages of the second national survey on the maltreatment of children and adolescents in Italy, conducted by Terre des Hommes and Cismai, for the Agia.

The survey, carried out between July 2019 and March 2020, based on 2018 data, explains a note, confirms a robust and significant experience from a statistical point of view: in fact, it covered an effective basin of 2.1 million minors residing in the 196 Italian municipalities involved and selected by Istat.

The mistreatment

The main form of maltreatment is represented by the pathology of care (neglect, discuria and hyper-care) of which 40.7% of minors in care of social services are the victim, followed by assisted violence (32.4%).

On the other hand, 14.1% of minors are victims of psychological abuse, while physical abuse is recorded in 9.6% of cases and sexual abuse in 3.5%. If, in general, more males are followed by social services, girls and girls are instead more frequently in charge of maltreatment (they are 201 out of 1,000, compared to 186 males).

This second survey has modified and expanded the data collection grid used in the past, allowing to explore new aspects of the phenomenon; thus we know that the minors who are victims of multiple maltreatment are 40.7% and in 91.4% of cases the perpetrator mostly belongs to the family sphere (parents, close relatives, friends of the parents). As for the source of the report of maltreatment, for the majority of cases, it is the judicial authority that takes action in this sense (42.6%). Hospitals and paediatricians follow the last places.

Action is taken more in the North than in the South

The intervention of social services is more frequent in the North than in the South, the note continues, and in 65.6% of cases it lasts longer than 2 years. Faced with these reports, the main interventions adopted by the Municipalities are economic assistance and home assistance (respectively for 28.4% and 23.9% of cases, i.e. a total of 52.3% of cases), which is used much more than the removal of the minor from the family unit (in total the placement in community and foster care amounted to 35%).

The novelty introduced by the survey is the possibility of comparing the data relating to maltreatment of children and adolescents on a sample of 117 municipalities that had also taken part in the 2015 survey (2013 data). The data collected tell of an increase in the phenomenon from every point of view: in fact, both the number of minors in care of the Services in general and of those in care for maltreatment is growing. We are talking about a + 3.6% of children and young people in charge of social services in general and a + 14.8% of children and young people in charge because they are mistreated.

A “unique” search

“We are extremely proud of this research work on maltreatment, which conducted with scientific methodology is unique in the Italian panorama – declares Donatella Vergari, president of Terre des Hommes – at the same time we are concerned about the lack of interest shown by the institutions. Our commitment together with Cismai it will certainly not end here, we will continue to work on data collection and monitoring of the phenomenon and we will continue to encourage the institutions to devote due attention to this problem “.

“Childhood – he continues – must return to being a priority of political agendas to guarantee rights, protection and care for all children, especially the most fragile. And the design and programming of effective policies necessarily passes through a scientific and continuous evaluation. data. The well-being, care and rights of our boys and girls are at stake, and therefore also the future of our country “.

The appeal to the institutions

“For some time – adds Giovanni Visci, president of Cismai – there have been laws and plans with which the Government is committed to finding data relating to this phenomenon and mapping the services and resources available in the sector (2000-2001 Plan), but they all remained without follow-up. Just as the recommendations of the UN Committee to Italy that it adopt a national data collection system remained without any follow-up. At least two macroscopic aspects of the survey published today that attract our attention: the number of minors followed by the Social Services and those abused among them; among the sources of reporting of maltreatment, hospitals and pediatricians continue to be fugitives.

We make an appeal – he concludes – so that this is the latest investigation that is proposed by Cismai and Terre des Hommes in the silence of the institutions and we hope that soon a national monitoring system will be set up that will really allow to program services for the protection of age”.


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