The Malta Independent 27 September 2023, Wednesday
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Updated: Sister of murder victim says 'cries for help' went unheeded

Tuesday, 22 November 2022, 11:56 Last update: about 11 months ago

A sister of the woman who was murdered in Kordin on Tuesday morning has accused the authorities of ignoring the victim’s cries for help.

Bernice Cassar, who was shot to death, was "scared" and "fighting for her safety" before she was killed, her sister Alessia Cilia wrote on Facebook.

According to sources and family at the scene of the shooting, the 40-year-old victim made multiple reports of domestic violence to the authorities. 

"She reported and cried for help but the authorities never really cared. She was sad yesterday because Christmas was around the corner and she was fighting for her safety and that of her kids."

The Labour Party's women's movement Nisa Laburisti also commented about the incident.

"Malta mourns the loss of another woman and mother of two children due to domestic violence," it said.

"Bernice, society has failed you. We lost you even though we were able to save your life. Even though we were able to protect you when you showed us that you were going through suffering."

The Malta Women's Lobby said it is extremely saddened to hear of yet another femicide, whose victim, Bernice Cassar, was shot dead at Corradino industrial estate in Paola early this morning.

"We are saddened that her life was lost, and that her family are now faced with the loss of a beloved daughter, sister and mother.  

"But we are also angry!

"We are angry that another woman has been lost to femicide.

"We are angry that the system appears to have failed her," the lobby group said. 

The authorities concerned must take immediate and effective action to prevent, to protect, to prosecute in cases of Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. 

Additionally, it is high time that Malta fully and effectively implements the Istanbul Convention.

The massive backlog in court cases of Violence Against Women also needs to be resolved once and for all, so as to avoid delays, often amounting to years, from the moment a report is lodged. It is evident that more magistrates working exclusively on cases of violence against women need to be appointed. Currently, there is only one magistrate dealing with such cases. This is not acceptable.

Furthermore, the government must allocate more funding to entities like Aġenzija Appoġġ and Domestic Violence Services, so that they may employ more social workers to assist women in cases of domestic violence.

It is imperative that Temporary Protection Orders are requested by the police and issued by the court to provide protection, and that other forms of emergency barring orders are available and accessible.

By dragging their feet on the above points raised, the State and its institutions continue to fail women.

This is absolutely unacceptable and cannot go on, the lobby group said.




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