The Malta Independent 19 September 2019, Thursday

One in four women experience abuse by partner, law on domestic violence by end of year

Gabriel Schembri Friday, 24 November 2017, 11:34 Last update: about 3 years ago

One in every four women experience emotional, sexual or physical abuse by current or former partner, studies show.

Clarissa Sammut Scerri, the dean of the faculty of family studies has this morning presented the findings of studies which show the extent of violence against women in Malta and in the rest of the globe. She was addressing a conference on violence against women at the Radisson Blu Hotel. The conference officially launched a 16-day awareness and activism campaign which will focus on the various issues related to gender violence, including children and domestic abuse.

Sammut Scerri said that the importance of such studies is to look at the family context to better understand how such situations develop.

She quoted results from an FRA survey which shows how by 2014, 15% of women experience sexual, physical or violent abuse. This amounts to 31,800 women. More than 26% of women experience emotional or violent abuse from former or current partners. More than 23% of women experience such abuse before they turn 15 years of age.

Law on domestic violence to pass by end of year

The Minister for Civil Liberties and EU Affairs Helena Dalli opened this same conference and announced that the Maltese parliament will pass the law on domestic violence by end of this year. She said that currently, the House of Representatives is going through its second reading. Once approved, the law will be in line with the Istanbul convention on domestic violence.

Minister Dalli said that there needs to be proper ownership of the government's strategy against gender violence. She said this is the reason why the strategy was implemented in an intra-ministry approach. Dalli said all the cabinet was involved.

"A country can only make the leap forward if we need to put our foot down and have zero-acceptance towards violence."

She mentioned Hollywood's Harvey Weinstein's multiple sexual abuse cases and how this shows the extent to which such abuse can grow. Dalli then spoke about how childhood experiences can leave a life-long mark on the victim. "You reap what you sow," she added. "If we want gender violence to stop, we need to act with the very young."

The strategy on gender violence will be officially launched tomorrow. 

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