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Menarini Group News

2017 - 04 - 28

900 minors at the risk of sexual abuse in Campania Too few reports The first “child-saving” course of the Naples network is ready to go


Every year in this country about 70-80 thousand children and adolescents suffer physical, psychological and sexual abuse, but only a few cases come to light: the number of reports of sexual abuse on minors reach barely 700/800 every six months in the whole of Italy, according to the most recent reports of the Criminal Investigation Police Force. To bring to light the "submerged" cases, Naples is the starting point of the "Stop abuse on children" project launched by Menarini with the support of training and sensitisation events for doctors, in collaboration with the Italian Paediatrics Society (SIP) and the Italian Federation of Paediatricians (FIMP), to create a nation-wide network to fight against child abuse which will involve 1000 “trainer” paediatricians and in cascade form 15,000 “look-out” paediatricians and general practitioners. The goal of the project is to train and sensitise Italian paediatricians to recognise and intercept the signals of possible abuse.

About 900 children in the Campania Region are at the risk of sexual abuse, and almost 9,000 will probably suffer lack of care, ill-treatment and psychological and physical violence. About 50 paediatricians in Campania will receive in-depth training on the clinical and legal tools to recognise the signs of abuse on child victims of violence and to take action.

Naples, Friday 28 April 2017 - The "monsters" who steal the innocence of these children are almost always those that are closest and most loved, especially mum and dad, but also relations, close friends, nursery school teachers or neighbours, as we have tragically seen from recent news events. The economic crisis, families in difficulty, conflict between parents and in society all lead to the risks of ill treatment and abuse increasing: about 9,000 children and adolescents under 14 are at the risk of ill treatment and violence, and 10% of these are at risk of sexual abuse. But the problem is greatly underestimated, in 70% of cases taking place in the home, two times out of three involving a member of the family. Half of the cases refer to ill treatment and psychological or physical abuse, and one in ten to sexual abuse. The number of young victims that manage to seek help is very low: one in five of those that suffer sexual abuse and one in three that are victims of violence.

Too often, the suffering is veiled in silence, and for this reason Menarini, with training events for doctors carried out in collaboration with the Italian Paediatrics Society (SIP) and the Italian Federation of Paediatricians (FIMP), has focused on the creation of an anti-abuse network at national level, supported by the multinational Florentine pharmaceuticals company with an investment of € 1 million.

“Naples is the location of the first appointment of the “Stop abuse on children” project which combines professional know-how, sensitivity and enthusiasm that all the paediatricians have shown for one of the most difficult and painful problems of childhood and adolescence," Luigi Nigri, appointed as the FIMP manager of the project, stated.In Naples about 50 Campania paediatricians will be involved and within 2017 many others will take part in the courses that will be held in 18 other Italian cities. The initiative will help to awaken consciences: the paediatricians who follow the courses will become a reference point for their colleagues throughout the country, who will receive advice and help in managing cases of suspected abuse and ill treatment. All this will help to bring to light an increasing number of small victims and, we hope, to increase the number of reports: the Criminal Investigation Police Force has reported that there are about 700/800 in the country every six months. Therefore, the problem still remains hidden and veiled in silence in too many cases”.

“In Campania there are no available data on abuse and ill-treatment rates because we have no observatory on minors, but the prevalence of the phenomenon is no different from the rest of the country and confirms the figure given by scientific literature of one child per thousand being at the risk of sexual abuse," commented Renato Vitiello, vice chairman of the Campania SIP. “The social fabric of the territory is unfortunately a fertile breeding ground for cases of ill treatment, as shown by the many recent cases in the news, not least that of little Fortuna which shocked and moved the whole of Italy. Today, the question of abuse and ill-treatment can no longer be neglected, also for the serious consequences on the child's health in the short and long term: an ill-treated and/or abused child, in fact, not only risks physical, psychological and behavioural disturbances, but also organic damage in his or her adult life. This is why FIMP and SIP consider it a question of professional pride to follow this path towards knowledge capable of involving all the members of national paediatrics in a spirit of reciprocal collaboration, which is the cornerstone of an effective network.”

Our mission to create a network of paediatricians and general practitioners to safeguard the child victims of abuse and ill-treatment starts in Naples. Menarini has developed this project in order to create a branched network for medical training in all the regions, because unfortunately these sad stories that end up in the news exclude no part of Italy,” commented Lucia and Alberto Giovanni Aleotti, Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Menarini Group. “The project is therefore unique and makes Italy an example for all the other countries. We strongly believe in the social value of this network of "sentinel" doctors. To raise the awareness of doctors around these issues will help to safeguard children's peace of mind and vitality and, we hope, to also drastically cut down the number of painful stories that nobody wants to read in the newspapers”.