CONFINEMENT indoors under coronavirus lockdown has seen a sharp rise in domestic violence cases, but Italian centres for abused women have had their state funding taken away at the very moment it is needed most.
To qualify for state funding, shelters for abused women in Lombardy, the region worst-hit by Covid-19, are having to provide regional authorities with the identities of the women being helped.
Many centres have refused on grounds of protecting the privacy of their clients and, as a result, their state funding has been drastically reduced.
Regional authorities claim the data is needed to ensure there is no duplication of data if a woman has visited two different centres.
Anna Levrero, who runs one such shelter in Lombardy, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, “From our point of view this is absurd, because if a woman has suffered abuse it’s not as if she enjoys going from one centre to the next.”
Domestic abuse helplines have seen a sharp increase in calls during Covid-19 lockdown. Italy’s national network of anti-violence centres, DiRe, reports that calls to its hotlines between March 2 and April 5 this year rose by 75 per cent compared to the same period in 2018.
The loss of funding for centres for abused women is coming at a critical moment and has seen two shelters near Milan close as a result of the new policy.