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Friday, 25 August, 2000, 18:18 GMT 19:18 UK
Italy cracks down on paedophiles
Father of Graziella Manzi mourns at her funeral
Italy has been shocked by the two child murders
By David Willey in Rome

The Italian Government has announced new measures to combat paedophile crime a week after two brutal murders of children who had been sexually abused.

The government decided to set up an inter-ministerial committee composed of the ministers of health, justice, the interior, education and social affairs, to co-ordinate future action against child abusers.

Local judges will also pool information on crimes of violence and sexual abuse against children, and schools are to take a more prominent role in educating children and their parents about the dangers of sexually-motivated attacks.

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

The Justice Minister, Piero Fassino, told a news conference that he was strongly critical of a newspaper's publication this week of the names of convicted sex offenders.

"It's useless and barbaric," he said, referring to the lists of names published by the daily Libero.

The minister said existing laws against paedophile crime were quite adequate - it was sufficient to apply them and co-ordinate them better.

'No magic solution'

Italy's Social Affairs Minister, Livia Turco, said there was no magic solution to the problem.

Teachers are to be given more support and training in how to recognise signs of psychological stress among their pupils which could be the result of sexual abuse.

The complexity of the problem can be gauged by new details which have come out about the murder of an eight-year-old girl in southern Italy last week.

At first, police arrested a young man who had confessed to the crime. It now transpires that at least five other youths are alleged to have taken part in the systematic torture and sexual abuse of the girl, who eventually died from multiple burns to her body.

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See also:

23 Aug 00 | Europe
Italian paper names paedophiles
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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