The Malta Independent 28 September 2020, Monday

Inter-ministerial strategy needed to combat gender-based and domestic violence – Minister Dalli

Tuesday, 7 November 2017, 20:36 Last update: about 4 years ago

The proposed legislation concerning gender-based and domestic violence will include an inter-ministerial strategy that will compliment the many sectors that deal with the issue, such as the police, the courts, the health service, and other government agencies, Minister for Equality Helena Dalli told parliament during the second reading of the proposed act.

The legislation will also cover a wide spectrum of violence, given that victims can suffer physically, verbally, and mentally.

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The sitting began with Deputy Speaker Claudette Buttigieg reading an open letter from President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, who announced her backing of the bill and said that the act will promote and protect the rights of everyone, especially those vulnerable individuals who are exposed to these forms of violence.

The Minister criticised previously Nationalist Party administrations, specifically under the tenure of Lawrence Gonzi, for consistently providing excuses when delaying a debate on the subject, when a white paper on the issue had been presented to them eight years prior.

"I continuously asked about the issue during parliamentary question but Lawrence Gonzi always gave excuses. He used to tell me that things needed to be changed, but when the PN came out with their document on the subject eight years after I first spoke about it, the white paper was exactly the same as the one I had presented, not even the commas had been changed."

The new legislation continues the good work conducted by the Minister after she oversaw the ratification of the Council of Europe's Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence by all the European Union's member states.

Dalli said that now it was time Malta practiced what it preached, and went further than what is stipulated in the convention, and protect all those individuals, irrespective of gender or gender identity, from being victims of domestic or gender-based violence.

Buttigieg, who at this point was speaking as an Opposition MP, backed Dalli's proposal, specifically when it came to the proposals concerning the education of children on the issue, especially those who were directly affected by domestic violence.

"It is time to start a new chapter, children need to learn from a young age that violence should never be accepted," she said.

Buttigieg, while praising the work done by the Minister, insisted that abuses still took place and more work needed to be done in a number of areas.


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