Italy establishment honours NGO tackling domestic violence

Dr Bo Guerreschi addresses the throng of VIPs. Photo credit: Andrea Merola

 VENICE -- At a fundraising dinner held last week-end in the Palazzo Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, on the Grand Canal and beautifully decorated with Giorgione frescos, a constellation of dignitaries from all over Italy were in attendance at the “bon’t worry” event focused on women and children who are victims of violence. Bo Guerreschi Ph.D, herself a victim of domestic violence, founded “bon’t worry” in 2015 as an NGO or Onlus to offer concrete help to Italian women and children who are unable to defend themselves from a multiplicity of abuses including rape, assault, harassment, stalking, defamation, identity theft ,economic pressures and online bullying via social media.  

 Such a challenging task requires a multi-disciplinary approach involving help from, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and officials responsible for public order and security. In addition it requires raising pubic awareness, not just the general public but politicians and public authorities able to offer positive and practical input to victims and those around them. 

 Dr Guerreschi will surely be pleased by the outcome — a tour de force that was deftly moderated by writer and journalist Dr. Giovanna Pastega; sharing a platform with Dr Guerreschi were Senator Elena Ferrara, Dr. Ermelinda Damiano deputy mayor of Venice, Dr Adelchi D’Ippolito adjunct to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Colonel Roberto Riccardi,  Head of the Press Office of the General Command of the Carabinieri, Alberto Berardi researcher and adjunct professor of jurisprudence at the University of Padua, Dr. Antonella Ricca, expert in interpersonal relations, and honorary member of bon’t worry, Dr Ilaria Bonuccelli, journalist and writer, vice-president of the National Union of Journalists, assistant  editor, Tirreno di Livorno, Dr Alessandro Manini, adviser to “bon’t worry”, on multilateral relations and referent to the United Nations. 

 A recurring theme during the discussion was the difficulties facing victims who complain or are afraid or reluctant to complain through the fear that nothing will be done to help them and indeed that complaints may rebound upon them. Punishment and protection by using Electronic tagging was deemed by most speakers ineffective or inadequate. 

 Senator Ferrara illustrated through slides (see at the content and the path towards the enactment of the Ferrara law 71/2017, to protect minors from cyber-crime, that came into force June 18, 2017. 

 Senator Ferrara told The Italian Insider that she was reasonably satisfied by Italian legislation in force, adding that it was above average when compared with other European Countries. However, she is not complacent, adequate legislation is only part of the problem, “even if there was the death penalty the violence would persist”, she said. 

 Dr Bonuccelli for her part highlighted an October 2016 judgment of the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union where the Court found that Italy had failed to fulfill its obligations under EU law by not implementing a Council Directive of 29 April 2004 relating to compensation. Member States must guarantee victims not only access to compensation in accordance with the principle of the prohibition of discrimination, but also a minimum level of compensation for all types of violent crime, the Court held. 

 Dr D’Ippolito said that services must aim at unblocking victims from making complaints by creating favourable circumstances that will help them to do so. A culture has to be encouraged among youth to eschew bullying as cowardly and to see and understand that love is not possession.

 A butterfly brooch donated by jewellers Spiga Uno Milano, was raffled and the winner, the young deputy head of “bon’t worry”, Dr Samuele Ragazzoni,  gallantly gifted it on to Venice deputy mayor Ermelinda Damiano. 

 The conference ended with warm and extensive thanks to the speakers who along with many others including officials of the police, the finance police and the military authorities for their high professional and moral standards, were awarded plaques in gratitude for their invaluable contributions. 

 Additional reporting: Beatrice Caletti Medici



Bo Guerreschi and Senator Elena Ferrara. Photo: ANDREA MEROLA
Senator Elena Ferrara Photo: ANDREA MEROLA