The National Observatory on Domestic Violence enjoys the patronage of the Ministry of the Interior. It is supported and sponsored by the Veneto Region Department for Human Rights and Department of Health and has been approved by the Ministry of Justice given to the Inter-Agency Committee
WHAT WE DO
The ONVD is a research group that works closely with the institutions and the health and social services of the territory and has created over time a validated method of detection, study and analysis of the domestic violence cases by providing scientific instruments to the workers in the sector in order to support prevention and punishment of domestic violence, by creating effective models against this phenomenon.
As defined by the WHO in 1996, domestic violence is "all acts of physical, sexual or psychological abuse of people who have, have had or are willing to have an intimate partner relationship, as well as people within a more or less extended family have parental or emotional relationships".
The ONVD method has been developed in cooperation with several institutional realities at the administrative level (Prefectures, Civil and Criminal Courts, Capital Punishment Department, Region, Provinces and Municipalities) and operational level (Arma dei Carabinieri – national military police; Questure - police headquarters; Guardia di Finanza - finance police; local police; ASL - local health authority and ULSS - local health and social care service; general practitioners, family counselling workers).
The work consists of an extensive investigation and thorough search on domestic violence episodes in real contact with institutions and likely to be detected "as formal acts", thus going beyond the knowledge resulting from vague inference and findings derived from sampling methods and / or phone interviews. The ONVD activity does not provide assistance to domestic violence victims; as a scientific reality its mission is the production of data, i.e. clear formal basis for the study and research of the phenomenon, with data enabling appointed institutions to implement prevention, conflict and repression policies.
The detection and monitoring of the domestic violence phenomenon carried out by the ONVD began as an experiment in Verona (2006), then extended to the Veneto Region (2007), Friuli Venezia Giulia and East Lombardy. A collaboration agreement with the Province of Brescia has been recently signed (November 2012).
The ONVD method
The methodology adopted by the Observatory provides:
constant observation and detection of the phenomenon;
increasing the level of awareness of workers and therefore identifying the best ways for intervention;
the adoption of operational procedures aimed at a sensitive and effective approach.
The ONVD activity does not provide direct assistance to the victims, but, through the careful reading and analysis of the data from institutional sources, the confrontation and interaction between the different experiences of the network and the different reality are aimed at:
providing the operator with intervention tools, the student with the results of the research, the citizen with the problem awareness and with the correct information for its prevention;
locating places, time and ways to provide effective and reasonably quick answers to violence victims, also through the contribution of the Operational Coordination Tables set up with the support of the Prefectures;
suggesting possible changes to the law, undelayable in some cases.
The ONVD survey
The survey, carried out by the institutions involved in the network, provides easy and quick to complete computer records (meant only for the workers). These records include a “common” section showing the identification of the victim and the perpetrator and the details of the event, and a diversified section, depending on the nature and purpose of the institution in charge of filling it out. This system has been achieved by adopting a program of sensitive data encryption, the only one used by every institution, submitted to the approval of the authority for the protection of personal data. It was made possible through encryption algorithms and it allows to quantify and qualify the phenomenon with its highest accuracy. Being able to exactly define how many cases, how many victims, how many perpetrators, in order to provide a complete picture on emerging cases of domestic violence is the final result. This is essential to tackle the problem in a systematic and appropriate way, seeking to undermine the "dark number" of family violence, since any quantitative evaluation is hard to obtain.
Violence and family
Much has been written and there's still much to write about the family, being restricted or enlarged, patriarchal or matriarchal, center of affections and private matters rather than basic structure of society and about the evolution of the family in the most modern way. Little can be found in literature about domestic violence, which is a significant phenomenon that affects the internal life of the family. Data are lacking in quantity and quality and its visibility is poor. Except for some episodes that are widely shown in the media, with the positive consequence of awakening a problem otherwise silent and the negative effect of giving sensational details for the audience. In fact there is nothing that causes more curiosity than a drama characterized by violence and sexual intimacy . The prevention and prosecution are not enough, since the phenomenon is often culturally and commonly perceived as "absolutely private" and therefore within the jurisdiction it's painfully experienced as a contradictory phenomenon and not as a specific weak point of the civil and constitutional rights.
The ONVD mission (for a shared method)
The tasks and objectives of the Observatory are getting more and more complex and range from pointing out and testing an analysis method of the phenomenon, to the identification of possible different paths of information and training, to the construction of a communication network, intervention and prevention, providing the experience and thus contributing to the construction of institutional responses and of an adequate and "modern" legislative framework. Our ambition is giving a wider approach to the problem, not only to the gender-based violence, but also addressing domestic violence, i.e. all those episodes that occur within the "current" family with blurred institutional boundaries. In order to achieve these objectives it takes strong, continuous and structured commitment, a "networking" capacity among various institutional representatives, which cannot be given to the individual subjectivity.