Salvini’s League renews call for chemical castration after spate of high-profile rapes shocks Italy

FILE - Italian Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome, Tuesday, April 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s co-governing League party, has renewed his call for the introduction of chemical castration for rapists and pedophiles after a number of high-profile sexual assaults on minors sparked uproar across the country.

In an Instagram post published last week, the Italian government minister announced his party would soon be tabling a proposed law for the experimentation of chemical castration for sex offenders, insisting there should be “zero tolerance” for those convicted of such offenses.

“For rapists and pedophiles, whether Italian or foreign, prison and chemical castration,” he added on X.

“The League’s bill for the experimentation of chemical castration for rapists and pedophiles will soon be under discussion and I hope approved,” he said in response to the news that two 13-year-old children had been gang-raped by seven individuals, including six teenagers, in the town of Caivano last month.

“What a horror… News we should never read. Our hearts go out to the two young girls,” he said. “No clemency for those who lay their hands on women and children.”

According to Italian media, the victims were cousins and had been lured to an abandoned storage building at Parco Verde in the town by a group of males before being attacked.

They reported the incident to the authorities, who conducted an investigation in August and were able to identify and arrest the adult suspect alleged to have been involved.

It is understood that the girls have since been removed from their homes by social services and taken into care.

The story shocked Italy and led to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announcing on Monday that she would visit Caivano at the invitation of local parish priest Don Maurizio Patriciello.

It is the latest in a string of high-profile cases and followed the gang rape of a 19-year-old woman by several young men in Palermo on July 6.

The events have elicited a response from Italian lawmakers, particularly from the League, which has vowed to do what it can to clamp down on such attacks.

Under Salvini’s plan, a judge could order the commencement of medical treatment for pedophiles and for rapists in the cases of repeat offenders. Chemical castration would also be offered to any sexual offender on a voluntary basis who wished to show the court they are willing to change and demonstrate remorse.

Voluntary chemical castration is already available in 13 EU member states, but Poland is the only European country to introduce mandatory chemical castration for some rapists and pedophiles following the passing of legislation back in 2009.

In the other countries, it is voluntary for repeat offenders who, in addition to serving the sentence for the serious crime committed, agree to be treated,” said Justice Secretary Andrea Ostellari, a member of the League.

“Women’s safety, prevention of new crimes, and care for subjects who, declared dangerous by the judges, undergo a process: these must be the objectives when it comes to one of the most heinous and violent crimes,” he added.

In addition, the League also wants to introduce new measures targeting young offenders, including a “yellow card” for children aged 12 and over that would see offenders summoned to the police station with their parents and warned. For those over the age of criminal responsibility, which in Italy is 14, tougher penalties would be imposed for offenders who refuse to carry out community work, and heavy fines would be levied on parents who are negligent in making sure their children are attending school.

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