Since 2017 there has been a new way of talking between young people and the institutions: it's called YouPol.
In reality, allowing everyone, young people and adults, to interact with the State Police which has set it up to report specific cases of crime and stems from the firm belief that every citizen is a responsible and active part in the life of the country. In practice, an alarm is launched for the Police to intervene.
It is a free application, downloadable from the store of smartphones and tablets using Android and iOS.
It is used to report episodes of "in real time", directly to the State Police headquarters bullying, drug and, recently, also includes the new service to counter the phenomenon of Domestic violence, with the possibility of attaching photos.
The covid-19 contagion forces us to stay at home with the "perpetrator" and YouPol can help victims, in times of difficulty, to report episodes of ill-treatment.
In fact, the problem of ill-treatment and abuse within the familiar circuit with the covid 19 emergency has become even more exacerbated, making it difficult for the victims to report what is happening, and therefore to be able to report. It is a sort of "emergency within an emergency", which has even led to a further worsening of the conditions of the victims, especially the habitual ones. The alarm also came from the Magistrate who deals, here in Milan, with vulnerable subjects: in point, he reports that there has been a drop in complaints in this period: what is extremely serious and a source of concern, because , as known, this is not an absolute decrease. We'd like to believe that complaints have decreased because, "magically", during the pandemic, people have understood the social negative value of their conduct and have stopped abusing, mistreating their partners or their children. We know, however, that this is not the case.
Obviously, the number of complaints has dropped but only because it has become impossible to escape the control of one's abuser, consequently also making it very difficult to find the "privacy" necessary to make a phone call or, simply, to ask someone for help because there is always present "the other" who observes every move.
The cases in which the victim is unable to have a space, not even minimal, to be able to ask for help, is an aspect that should attract our attention and make us worry further because it certainly does not indicate a decrease in the phenomenon. However, the stimulus to continue reporting exists, in the sense that this app, in the form of a chat, still allows you to communicate even when you are in close proximity to a man who does not even allow the freedom to speak on the phone.
But how does YouPol work?
Let's give some examples: if you want to report an episode of bullying, just write "they are beating a boy” and, if possible, send a photo. The same applies in the case of an episode of drug dealing for which it will be sufficient to write: "They're dealing drugs in the park".
If you are a victim, or witness, of an episode of domestic violence, you can write: "Help".
Moreover, the app allows you to geolocate whoever sends messages and photos and allows you to know the location of the events in real time should the person find himself in a moment of need and should request the intervention of the Authorities.
It is possible to send a report to YouPol even anonymously since the app also works without registration: in this way, the Police will not know who sent the report. The advice, however, is to register by providing your personal details.
In fact, by registering by providing personal details, it is possible to obtain updates on the work of the State Police, send a reminder, integrate the information already transmitted, if incomplete, and view it at any time.
To register, simply enter your telephone number and the verification code received in the app, and then proceed to fill in your personal data.
Obviously, if the report turns out to be false, you will incur a crime: it is not, in fact, a game.
These reports do not replace reports but will allow investigations to begin. Furthermore, if the police intervene after a report through Youpol but the crime can only be prosecuted upon complaint, the victim will have to file the complaint personally to allow the judicial authority to start the criminal proceedings.
The user will also have the option of making an emergency call to the operations room of the province in which he is located, using a clearly visible red button.
After an initial phase in which the application was only operational in major cities, reports of bullying or drug dealing incidents can now be made throughout the country.
In the first year of use (when the service was still used only in Rome, Milan and Catania), more than 118,000 downloads were made, 1,152 cases of bullying and 2,132 reports of drug dealing and use.
I think it's a very useful app, in step with the times and that can involve and empower everyone, not just young people.
Finally, I want to remind you of the toll-free numbers against bullying: 800 66 96 96 and the one against violence against women which is 1522.
Let us never look the other way… maximum attention!