Italy's legislation on forced sterilisation

Legislation about (forced) sterilisation

In Italy, forced sterilisation is not criminalised as a specific offence. However, it can be prosecuted under article 583(2) of the Italian Penal Code as an aggravating circumstance. 

Under the terms of this provision, whoever intentionally causes a personal injury that entails the loss of the ability to procreate incurs a prison term of six to twelve years in prison.

In its concluding observations on Italy’s report, the CRPD Committee recommended: “abolish all laws that permit medical treatment, including sterilisation, consented by a third party (parent or guardian) without the free and informed consent of the person”.

As per the Italian Disability Forum, practices including sterilisation are “illegal and culturally unacceptable”. However, the absence of information in this regard does not exclude the existence of such practice.

Legal cases on the forced sterilisation of people with disabilities

The limited available case law appears to corroborate women’s NGOs’ claim that these offences might be performed at the request of the victim’s family under various medical justifications (endoscopies, biopsies) without going noticed, as seen on a decision dated 2013.

Data related to the matter

In its concluding observations on Italy’s report, the CRPD Committee expressed concerns about the lack of data on medical treatment including sterilisation administered without the consent of the person concerned.

GREVIO also stressed the lack of data concerning certain forms of violence against women, including forced sterilisation.