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Tuesday, 22 August, 2000, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Italians demand sex crimes crackdown
Funeral of Graziella Manzi
The father of Graziella Manzi mourns his daughter
By David Willey in Rome

The discovery in Italy of the bodies of two children who had been sexually abused has sparked an emotional debate about how to deal with crimes against juveniles.

Some Italians want to see lists of known paedophiles published, but the government has said it is opposed to such a move.


Some politicians have called for extreme penalties for child abusers, including chemical castration

The funeral of one of the two murdered children, eight-year-old Graziella Manzi - in Andria in southern Italy - attracted thousands of mourners on Monday.

A third child died this week after being hit on the head by a man living with his mother and the issue has been headline news over the past few days.

Extreme cruelty

An 18-year-old youth has confessed to molesting and then burning Ms Manzi to death and is being held in jail.

On the Ligurian Riviera in northern Italy, a four-year-old Tunisian girl was sexually abused and then stabbed to death.

Police are seeking a Romanian immigrant in connection with this crime.

A third case of extreme cruelty has been reported from southern Italy, where a three-year-old died after a blow on the head from a man living with his mother.

The funeral of the murdered eight-year-old
Thousands attended the funeral of Graziella Manzi

Some politicians, such as Alessandra Mussolini - a right-wing MP who is the grand-daughter of Italy's former Fascist dictator - have called for extreme penalties for child abusers, including chemical castration.

Name and shame

Others want immediate publication of the names of those convicted of paedophile crimes.

But the Social Affairs Minister, Livia Turco, says publication of such lists would be useless and even perhaps dangerous as this could encourage vigilante action.

She wants better education of parents as well as of children in how to deal with approaches by suspected paedophiles.

She has blamed Catholic culture for creating a taboo about the whole subject, which she says has led to public ignorance.

The number of cases of sexual abuse of children reported to police in Italy has almost doubled during the past four years.

Child-protection agencies say there are now 1,000 cases a year before the courts of sexual abuse or cruelty to children.

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See also:

14 Aug 00 | UK Politics
'Paedophile blitz: no rush'
06 Aug 00 | UK
The story of Megan's Law
24 Jul 00 | UK
To name and shame
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