Second strategy on domestic violence launched

The National Strategy on Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence for 2021-2022 has been launched.

This second strategy aims to adopt the recommendations of GREVIO as well as to follow the four pillars established by the Istanbul Convention: prevention, protection, prosecution and integrated policy on domestic violence.

In the 15 months of the pandemic the numbers of reports of domestic violence have increased.

The Commissioner for Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Audrey Friggieri explained to TVM how, during the pandemic, abuse and violence in relationships that were already problematic, had gotten worse.

Friggieri told TVM that in line with the increase in reports, the Commission had increased the services offered to victims.

“The public has become more confident that when they go they will find someone who will listen, and someone who will show a certain sensitivity; where before, perhaps before they would treat certain intimate problems like any crime. Yes, it’s a crime but it’s a specific crime.”

At the launch of the National Strategy on Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence for 2021-2022, which is expected to built on the first strategy covering the past three years, Friggieri stressed that this reality can no longer be considered a private matter because it affects society as a whole.

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Governance Edward Zammit Lewis listed a number of initiatives taken in this regard, including the launch of a specialized legal aid service for victims, free of charge and open 24 hours a day.

“It’s not just the investment, there has to be a ‘mentality shift’ to understand that domestic violence is not accepted and unacceptable in a modern society.”

The Prime Minister’s wife, Dr Lydia Abela, said that everyone involved in this sector should work in synergy with love and compassion with victims and children.

“The moment you go to seek help, because you are a victim, that person should be treated as a human being seeking help and so we should show him love and compassion.”

Dr Abela said that this strategy not only builds on the previous one but also gives life to various recommendations of GREVIO, which is a group of experts in the Council of Europe that sees to it that obligations are fulfilled and laws observed in this regard.

She also stressed that in recent months several changes had been made because the Government believes in them and is convinced that they will improve the lives of the victims.