The Initiatives of the Polizia di Stato
Over the years, the Department of Public Security has implemented comprehensive initiatives against gender-based violence, paying special attention to the most vulnerable victims.
A number of special offices have been set up to tackle gender-based violence, which are responsible for preventing and detecting criminal incidents, multidisciplinary training, collaboration with other institutions and organizations, empowerment of women through information and awareness campaigns.
A Minors’ Office (Ufficio Minori) was set up within the Anticrime Divisions of each Police Headquarters (Questura) in 1996. It essentially deals with preventive activity and - as indicated in its constitutive document - it provides struggling families with a sort of “First Aid” service, establishing a connection with local-level actors and institutions.
Furthermore, as of 1998, a “Specialist Section” was set up within the Criminal Investigation Unit (Squadra Mobile) of each Police Headquarters charged with investigating cases of domestic violence, gender-based crimes and sexual abuse. It collaborates with associations that offer the necessary logistical, legal and psychological support to victims, after police intervention.
At central level, the Central Anticrime Directorate (DAC) of the Polizia di Stato is tasked with supervising and coordinating the activities carried out by the Police Headquarters to prevent and combat this phenomenon.
Among the interventions developed over the years, the prevention of secondary victimization factors is fundamental. It consists in providing adequate training to police officers and in setting up ad-hoc rooms to create a favourable environment for the victims. “Protected listening rooms” are available in 67 Police Headquarters and are set up in collaboration with private associations, such as “Soroptimist International”.
Protected listening rooms in Police headquarters
The Polizia di Stato is also committed to spreading a gender equality culture, through information and awareness campaigns, also working with schools.
The campaign “This is not love” ("Questo non è amore”), launched in 2016, aims to raise awareness of violence against women and to encourage people to come forward, through a careful and proactive approach, offering victims the possibility to get in touch with specialist staff.
In July 2021, the DAC launched a new campaign called #RealSecurity (#SicurezzaVera), in collaboration with FIPE-Confcommercio and the FIPE-Confcommercio Women Entrepreneurs Group, to reach as many women as possible through educational, training and dissemination initiatives, including workshops, conferences and awareness campaigns.
During the period of movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 emergency, the Polizia di Stato as experimented with new communication channels, that, however, are not intended to replace the traditional, indispensable emergency numbers - 112 NUE or 113.
The YOUPOL app is the application of the Polizia di Stato that allows to report, even anonymously, incidents of domestic violence, bullying and drug dealing directly to the Operations Rooms responsible for the area.