The Malta Independent 17 August 2022, Wednesday

Legal reforms are not enough to tackle problems of violence – minister

Sabrina Zammit Wednesday, 5 January 2022, 13:25 Last update: about 8 months ago

Legal reforms are not enough to tackle problems related to violence, Minister for Equality, Research and Innovation Owen Bonnici said on Wednesday.

In comments to The Malta Independent in the wake of the murder of a Polish woman, Pauline Dembska, last Sunday, Bonnici said a more holistic approach is needed.

“Changing the law is not enough. If problems were solved by changing the laws, then we would do a law and say that there is no poverty in the world. You cannot solve problems just by doing legal reforms, but you also have to win mentalities and hearts,” the minister said.

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“In the last few years, the government carried out a total transformation of the legal aspect for when it comes to domestic violence and forms of gender-based violence,” Bonnici said.

He added that the government has been working on this sector for a number of years. Fruitful reforms have been implemented, and there are still more to come.

“We have to bring everyone together to change outdated and patriarchal mentalities. We must bring this change about through a collective effort. We must work every day to convince people that it is unacceptable for a woman to go out and not return home, more so when it happens in circumstances that show that she was killed for the reason that she was a woman. I am speaking not just as a politician but also as the father of a young girl. Certain mentalities must change through a collective effort by the government, politicians, the media, everyone.”

Answering questions by the media regarding the opening of schools next Monday, Bonnici said that the government always makes sure that children get the best quality of education possible; thus, he agrees with the decisions taken by Minister for Education Clifton Grima.

He added that the government was in communications with the teachers’ union, amongst others, before a decision was taken to open schools physically as from 10 January.

All children should have the best level of education, and the best education is provided in the classroom. Health protocols need to be followed, and there is evidence to suggest that the protocols in place have worked, the minister said.

When asked why there was a decision to extend the wage supplement until the end of January and not any further, he said that he agrees with the positions taken by the Prime Minister and the Minister responsible for this matter.

The minister was speaking to the media after the launch of the second volume of the publication ‘Mapping the Rainbow.’

Senior Lecturer at the University of Malta’s Faculty of Social Wellbeing Claire Azzopardi Lane, one of the editors for the publication, said that the editorial team received various proposals.

In total, there were 16 proposals, out of which 15 have been published.

Azzopardi said that since such study proposals were not presented physically last year but rather online, the finances allocated for such an event to happen have been spent on other important issues concerning the LGBIQ community and books.

Colette Farrugia Bennett, a social worker and committed activist at the MGRM, who also had her study published in the book, said that ‘Mapping the Rainbow’ is a good guide for parents whose children form part of the LGBIQ community.

Referring her contribution to the publication, she said she discovered that when there is liberty in society for citizens to express their gender, parents are more inclined to accept what their children decide.

She added that since such studies are scarce in Europe, her documented experiences will serve as a guide to present and future parents.

Bonnici said that although homophobia and transphobia cases have drastically subsided, occasional incidents still occur. He said that such studies, which uncover the true day-to-day life experiences of the LGBTIQ community, help identify and provide a solution for such problems in society.

Video: Miguela Xuereb/Newsbook

 

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