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Cyberbullying clinic opens at Rome hospital

Service available to victims, perpetrators and parents

25 February, 18:27
Cyberbullying clinic opens at Rome hospital (ANSA) - Rome, February 25 - Cyberbullies and their victims can now seek help and treatment at a special clinic at the Gemelli hopsital in Rome.

The service is run in conjunction with the postal police and is an extension of an existing facility for Internet addicts that has treated 600 people since opening in 2009. Victims and perpetrators of harassment, threats and other forms of abuse using the Internet or mobile phones have access to psychotherapy and group therapy as part of the treatment plan.

There are also special services for parents.

"With victims we will work on their ability to manage their aggression, which is usually stifled, to enable them to make their own place in the world and give them the tools needed to avoid opening themselves up to persecution," explained Federico Tonioni, the person in charge of the service. "With bullies we will work on their capacity for empathy, generating feelings of guilt and working on their emotions," he added. Italy's guarantor for children and young people Vincenzo Spadafora on Tuesday applauded the initiative.

"It is important for children and families to have access to efficient local services that respond to the many needs that cyberbullying generates," he said. "All the institutions must up their efforts to protect victims and help them break their silence. It is necessary to identify the tools to react to this new form of violence but also to intervene with the perpetrators or potential perpetrators".