Italian Journal of Criminology

The official journal of the Italian Society of Criminology

by Francesca Sorcinelli, Alberto Manganaro, Massimo Tettamanti


The relationship between animal abuse and interpersonal violence has been hotly debated in the scientific literature from the 1960s onwards, especially in the US. An Italian project established in 2009, LINK-ITALIA, has been investigating this relationship; this is a pioneer project encompassing the whole country. A multidisciplinary team has analyzed 278 cases in which one or more instances of animal abuse were followed by crimes against humans. 93% of the abusers were male, 17% thereof children or teenagers; 54% of the victims were women, 24% children, 3% elderly people, 5% adult men, while 14% of the crimes involved more than one victim. 61% of the women avoided or delayed escaping their abusers because they feared for their pets. 19% of the human victims died. The main categories of abuse linked to both animal and human victims were shown to be: domestic violence, rape, stalking, bullying and organized crime. Because more people keep pets in Italy than in the US, investigation of animal abuse in Italy is likely to show a stronger relationship to abuse on humans and a stronger preventive effect than is the case in the US. These results are confirmed by multivariate statistics methods (PCA analysis); this is the first application of multivariate statistics to criminology in Italy. The application of multivariate statistical methods can supplement the traditional statistical tools already in use by criminologists, yelding insights and suggestions about interpersonal violence which cannot be reached by analyzing one variable at a time. The results of this study have led to a number of projects and collaborations with police forces, lawyers’ associations, victim support communities, schools, prisons and NGOs in order to collect more, and more in-depth, data. Three shelters have been established, two of which can house abused animals (or animals belonging to abused victims) and one which can house human victims with their pets.


Project leader, Progetto LINK – ITALIA, Via Bastogi 51, 41100 Baggiovara, Modena, Italia.

Francesca Sorcinelli

Milano Chemometrics and QSAR Research Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Università di Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italia

Alberto Manganaro

I-CARE, Victim Support Italy, Varese, Italy.

Massimo Tettamanti


Contacts: Francesca Sorcinelli, Progetto LINK – ITALIA, Via Bastogi 51, 41100 Baggiovara, Modena, Tel. +393385221494  - email: fra.sorcinelli(at)gmail.com.


From: Rassegna Italiana di Criminologia n° 4/2012

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