Victims of domestic violence are finding their voice and the courage to seek help
Miss Universe Malta, Jade Cini, has spoken out about being a victim of domestic violence, and although it was an isolated case, she still felt that she still had to report it to the authorities.
The girl was speaking on the first day of activism against domestic violence, during which activity, the wife of Prime Minister Lydia Abela said that domestic violence is not something that affects only one person, but affects society as a whole.
Over the past year, 2,220 people have sought help from the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, FSWS, in connection with cases of domestic violence. This year, by the end of June, 1,889 people had already sought help. Over the past year, 107 aggressors sought the help of the FSWS, after realising that they had a problem – and by June this had risen to 123.
Jade Cini, spoke about her experience of domestic violence and stressed the importance of reporting any domestic abuse, whether a one off incident or not, and even if it did not concern the individual personally.
“It only happened once, and in fact there were people who were shocked when I told them it happened once and that I wanted to proceed with legal action. It is also important that apart from raising awareness, it is important to understand that it does not have to happen more than once, someone does not have to go through it more than once i.e. it does not have to be a repeated action. Even if it only happens once, you can stop and say no to domestic violence. ”
She went on to say that she felt hurt when people refused to help her and not to get involved and appealed for people to call the Police anonymously for help. The same appeal was made to the Commissioner for gender based violence and domestic violence Audrey Friggieri, who said that silence only helps the aggressor to continue to abuse.
The Prime Minister’s wife, Dr Lydia Abela, said that domestic violence is not something that affects only one person, but was a problem that affected the whole society. She said that a well-functioning society could not tolerate someone who thinks he is above others, because if someone is capable of abusing those he is supposed to love, he will do the same to others. She stressed that work against domestic violence should be done throughout the year, well beyond these 16 days of activism.
“Those who work in the protection sector, those who work in the prevention sector, those who work in the education sector, not only work during these 16 days, but work daily and address daily problems throughout the year. ”
Recent years, especially during the height of the pandemic, have seen an increase in cases of domestic violence. While before reports averaged 122 cases per month, during the pandemic, reports rose to 142 cases per month. Authorities are working to control this scourge, including through a study conducted by academics at the University of Malta.