Italy: Contested ‘Red Code’ DV Legislation Passes through Senate
Monday, August 26, 2019 9:50 AM

A new set of laws intended to address domestic and gender-based violence, known as the ‘Red Code’, has passed through the Italian senate with 197 ‘yes’ votes and 47 choosing to abstain. Reforms include higher maximum sentences for domestic abuse, stalking, and group assaults, along with new penal codes for acid attacks and ‘revenge porn.’ The changes will also fast-track cases of domestic and gender-based violence, reducing the time allowed for preliminary investigations and requiring complainants to appear for a court hearing no more than three days after filing a report.

The legislation has received criticism from women’s groups, who fear that the increased speed of court proceedings will have a negative effect on victims who are already afraid to report. Other critics include political parties such as the Democratic Party (PD), one of the 47 abstaining votes that released a statement criticizing the Red Code’s lack of provisions for education or prevention, as well as the absence of financial resources for its implementation. The authors of the statement criticize the new legislation because it overlooks what they consider the root causes of domestic violence: “This type of narrative shifts the subject to the exclusive level of security, when instead it is a complex and, at its root, cultural issue.”

Compiled from: Code red: Italy passes new domestic violence law, The Local Europe (July 18, 2019); Violenza sulle donne, il codice rosso è legge: c’è il sì del Senato, La Repubblica (July 17, 2019)