Juventus forward Paulo Dybala had a red streak on his face to support an initiative targeting violence against women

Milan (AFP) - Footballers in Italy took to the pitch Saturday with a red streak on their cheeks as part of an initiative targeting domestic violence against women.

The campaign coincides with Monday’s ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’.

Italian champions Juventus and Serie A rivals Atalanta kicked off the campaign in the first game of the weekend.

The ‘Give violence against women the red card’ (#unrossoallaviolenza) initiative is being organised by the Lega Serie A together with Italian humanitarian organisation WeWorld Onlus.

Players and referees at weekend games will be accompanied onto the pitch by girls and have a red mark smeared on their faces to raise public awareness of violence against women.

“In every stadium a banner will be displayed to make people aware that the most important red card to give is the one against violence to women,” the Lega Serie A said in a statement.

In Italy, 142 women were killed from domestic violence in 2018, according to Italian research institute Eures.

In the last five years, 538,000 women were the victims of physical or sexual abuse by their partners, according to Italy’s national statistics agency.