Male violence against women and legal instruments\ This paper raises the first problem of definition of gender violence and the problem about the classification of different types of violence (in the form, according to the continuity of behaviour and according to the relational context). In the Italian legal system the legal instruments to fight male violence against women has changed over time. The analysis starts from the codes of the ’30s to arrive today. The milestones are: the 1948 Constitution, the reform of family law in 1975, the law against sexual violence in 1996 and measures against violence in family relationships in 2001. The analysis of legal written texts (conducted at various levels: state, regional, European, international) should be completed with the analysis of jurisprudential applications that shows the rules in facts (effectiveness).The gradual overcoming of patriarchal logic has now given way to a nefarious plot of the issue of violence with that of public safety and immigration. There is lack of a national observatory, but it is clear that women are still reluctant to use legal instruments, particularly criminal ones.