The year 2011 saw an increase of 30 per cent in the number of women seeking help at Milan’s Centro Donna of the CGIL union, their annual report says.
Violence at home or in the workplace, mobbing and stalking, as well as economic hardship were reported by the 902 women turning for assistance to the centre, which has been operating for over 20 years. A quarter of these needed help with their family rights: separation or divorce, or access to their children. Cases of economic, physical or psychological violence increased by 10 per cent over the previous year.
Another frequent call for help concerned workplace rights, not even counting family help and carers for the elderly or sick. By far the largest share of these requests were for help in negotiating with employers after giving birth, seeking approval for part-time hours or to have their previous job back.
While the majority of the women seeking help were Italians, almost 40 per cent were foreigners – Peruvians, Ukrainians, Ecuadorians, Filipinas, Ceylonese and a few North Africans, the centre reported.