Violence against women, Coop Lombardia renews its commitment to educate respect

The training meeting aimed at the cooperative’s staff took place in Milan, with over 300 employees present

As the November 25ththe International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women established by the United Nations General Assembly, and following up on the initiatives already implemented in recent years, Coop Lombardia renews its commitment to spreading a culture based on respect and individual responsibilitywith a training meeting dedicated to its staff.

Present at the event, which took place in the auditorium of the Asteria Center in Milan, were Alfredo De Bellis, vice president of Coop Lombardia; Diana De Marchi, president of the Commission for Equal Opportunities and Civil Rights of the Municipality of Milan; Giovanni Cuciti, vicar of the Milan police headquarters; Mitia Rendiniello, SVSeD psychologist and psychotherapist of the Sexual and Domestic Violence Relief Unit of the Mangiagalli Clinic in Milan and Virginia Poli, psychodiagnostician, legal psychologist and psychotherapist of the developmental age team of the Center for Transactional Psychology and Analysis in Milan.

Over 300 Coop Lombardia employees spontaneously participated in the meeting, a growing number compared to last year’s edition. Vice President De Bellis expressed great satisfaction for this: “I am very satisfied. Compared to last year, not only participation in numerical terms has grown but also participation from an empathetic point of view. I am sure that the people who work in the cooperative, our members and our volunteers have taken a further step forward on the issue of awareness and what we, as people, can and must do to combat violence against women”.

Initiatives such as those of Coop Lombardia are fundamental for spreading culture and awareness and contribute to the prevention and repression work carried out by the public authorities: “We try to carry out a cultural prevention action and we absolutely do not want to replace the action fundamental and even more important that the police carry out, for example – underlines De Bellis – We are a consumer cooperative and we know well that ours cannot only be an economic action, which in any case is fundamental for giving work to people and to keep the cooperative in a decent state of health. In fact, we feel the duty to restore to the territories not only an economic value but also a social value. This is what we try to do with many initiatives like today’s.”

Giovanni Cuciti, vicar of the Milan police headquarters, spoke of the constant commitment on the part of the police to ensure prevention throughout the territory: “The Milan Police Headquarters has been following the path of prevention for years to try to contain the escalation of conduct violent, making their professionalism available for the purposes of preparing warnings from the Police Commissioner. These are prevention measures aimed at curbing gender violence, recalling the perpetrator of the violence himself and inviting him to undertake a treatment path aimed at acquiring the disvalue of the conduct he carries out. This is because – continues Cuciti – it is important to make the perpetrators of violence aware of what they do to prevent further violent conduct from being carried out”.

The vicar of the Milan police headquarters then illustrated the situation in the Milan area: “Milan’s path is one that we follow every day, trying to implement resources. The situation is followed with particular attention not only by the State Police but also by the judicial authorities and by all the components of the security system. Data from the Police Headquarters record a slight increase in cases of sexual violence and sexual harassment in this period compared to other types of crimes. Obviously – concludes Cuciti – the attention dedicated to combating violence against women is expressed not only from a repressive point of view but above all from a preventive point of view”.

The voice of the Municipality of Milan was brought by the president of the Commission for Equal Opportunities and Civil Rights, Diana De Marchi: “Violence against women is not decreasing, unfortunately. While other crimes decrease, feminicides continue. In this time phase we observe that both reports and situations of violence without reporting increasingly concern young girls, therefore the age of women victims of violence has also decreased. As an administration we have always invested in constant professional and economic resources – continues De Marchi – because it is important to have a structured, organized anti-violence network, which constantly compares itself and which also innovates its proposals and methodologies. This network is made up of lawyers, anti-violence centres, which are fundamental, psychologists, law enforcement and the ATS, all entities that accompany women and prevent violence. However, I believe that we need to become more widespread across the territory. What I keep saying is that we need to make our services and our actions known more since they are often not known to everyone. We must also connect all those ‘informal’ realities that exist in the area and that can act as sentries and then lead women to turn to the anti-violence network” she concludes.

Cristina Carelli, general coordinator of the shelter for battered women, sent a message to all women victims of violence, explaining how it is possible for everyone to escape from it: “Violence is an experience that we in the association understand very well. What is important to underline is that there must not be a judgmental attitude towards women who are victims of violence and, above all, it must be clear that they are not ‘less women’ because they live in a situation of violence, as it could happen to any woman . Gender violence is truly a transversal phenomenon. The important thing is to have the right support. I assure you that if women know they can be welcomed and supported, they ask for help.”

The lack of economic availability must not be a deterrent for women victims of violence who want to get out of the situation of abuse and undertake a legal path, as psychologist Mitia Rendiniello explained: “In Italy the law provides that women victims of violence, regardless from their income, are entitled to free legal aid. Therefore, women who find themselves experiencing these situations can take a legal path without having to worry about legal costs. Inside the anti-violence centers there is also the possibility of accessing legal advice for both civil and criminal proceedings”.