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The helpline 1522: quarterly data as of Q4 2023

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The published tables cover the four quarters of 2023 and contain data on calls (by phone and chat) from users of the 1522 number and victims of violence who approach this service for requests for help. As was already the case for the third quarter 2023 publication, this new data production was done through a new platform for storing the information collected during calls. This platform, which has undergone modifications and additions during 2022 and 2023, allows for a better definition of the characteristics of the users and the purpose for which they address this service and, for this reason, generates data that marks a break in series (see in this regard the updated methodological note illustrating the changes made).

Compared to previously published quarters and overall compared to trends in previous years, the fourth quarter records a spike in calls never observed in the past. Although already in the three quarters of 2023 the number of phone and chat calls has been growing compared to previous years (Table 6), in the fourth quarter alone it a comes to total 21,132 valid calls (Table 1) with a percentage increase of 88.9 % compared to the previous quarter and 113.9 % compared to the same period in 2022 (or 9,887 valid calls). As Table 6 and the graph shown highlight, the peak recorded is not concentrated in the week dedicated to the celebration of the day of violence against women on November 25 and does not reach the values touched by the lock-down period (2021), but the volume of calls grows progressively from November 18 and remains at high values even after the commemorative day.

Strongly affecting the growth in volumes in the fourth quarter were certainly the promotional campaigns promoted at the central and local level, which had already started in the previous months, but also the well-known crime events that acted powerfully on public awareness of the phenomenon of violence against women. This aspect is well evidenced by the growth in calls not only from users and victims who call to inquire about the activities of 1522 (+108.9% compared to the previous quarter), to ask for help in cases of violence (+61.3%) and especially stalking (+113.8%), but also from relatives/friends/acquaintances and service workers who, to an extent sometimes threefold, report cases of violence or ask for support for victims (Table 3).

Data also return some hints as to which media contributed the most to the dissemination of the service (Table 9). Coinciding with communicative passages in the mass media or other social channels, calls for information about the type of service provided multiplied (in the fourth quarter this reason constituted 37.4 % of total valid calls).

In continuity with the purposes of the service and in an increasingly timely manner, 1522, in the four quarters under consideration, has played an important function as a junction at the territorial level between the services supporting those who turn to it, connecting victims with the nearest available protection services. Following the trends recorded in the previous quarters, about two-thirds of calls (68.5 % in the fourth quarter) are in fact directed to the services most appropriate to the requests, which, for 89.1 % of cases, are represented by Anti-Violence Centers and Services, Sheltered Houses and Victims’ Shelters (Table 10).

Analyzing the types of violence experienced in the four quarters of 2023 (Table 12), for about half of the victims, it is physical violence that motivates the use of the call for help (42.2% in the four quarters under consideration). Psychological violence is the second cause of calls (33.5 % in the fourth quarter up from the previous quarter). Also considering the cases of victims who suffered two or more types of violence, it is psychological violence that is suffered in a relevant form: with 2,362 reports from victims the fourth quarter sees a growth of this form of violence by 46.7% (Table 12bis). Looking at the total amount of violence experienced, threats and stalking constitute the most prevalent forms.

Despite the volume of calls growing exponentially in the fourth quarter the duration of the violent act remains constant: half of the victims (48.8%) say they have suffered violence for years, and 27.8 % for months (Table 13). The effect of the acts of violence suffered on the behaviors of survivors appears to be heavy: from the narrative reported to 1522 workers, in the fourth quarter 15.9% of victims felt fear of death and fear for their own safety and that of their loved ones, while two-thirds of them experience anxiety and 20.9% feel in a severe state of awe (Table 14).

Violence reported to 1522 is predominantly domestic: in the four quarters of 2023, 69.2% of respondents say the place of violence is their own home (Table 15). This explains the high percentage of cases of witnessing violence. In the four quarters under review, more than half of the responding victims (56%) had children, and of these, 30.4% claim to have minor children. In the fourth reporting quarter, 71.7 % of victims said their children witnessed violence and 28.3 % said their children also experienced it (Table 18). Witnessing violence generates reactions of anxiety (2,162 cases in the four quarters under consideration) but also aggression, fears and hyper maturity which, as the literature shows, constitute adverse child experiences that will seriously impact their psychological, social and physical development in their adulthood (Table 19). The circumstance that violence occurs in the family also explains the prevalence of partner or ex-partner figures as the main perpetrators of violence (Table 17).

The phenomenon of under-reporting is one of the important indications coming from the 1522 data: the majority of victims who contact the service do not report the violence they have suffered to the competent authorities (65.5 %). Looking at all quarters, the data show persistent resistance to reporting: in fact, 58.4 % of victims say they do not report even if the violence they have suffered has lasted for years.

Finally, the tables report information on:

  • the profile of victims and of the perpetrators and region of origin of calls
  • the timing of calls by day of the week and time of day

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More information
Alessandra Capobianchi

Maria Giuseppina Muratore

Claudia Villante

Periodo di riferimento: Q1-Q4 2023

Data di pubblicazione: 08 marzo 2024