Abela must walk the talk, women say over inaction on domestic violence

 Malta Women’s Lobby says NGOs not being consulted on urgent need to bolster protection and prosecution against domestic violence

Robert Abela
Robert Abela

The Malta Women’s Lobby have urged Prime Minister Robert Ablea to take immediate action on recommendations on domestic violence presented to the authorities a year ago, squarely pointing their finger at State inaction on the lethal consequences of ignored female victims.

The MWL said the study has already exposed how victims’ lives are kept on hold because of an under-resourced domestic violence unit, exhausted police officers, court delays and a general communication breakdown between relevant entities.

The study that remains unpublished only came to light The Times obtained a copy through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The €20,000 study confirms what the NGOs have been pointing out for years. “And yet, these same NGOs, are never consulted when it matters. Prime Minister, the recommendations were on your desk, 12 months ago, but they were left to gather dust.  Words matter, Prime Minister. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is,” the MWL said.

The MWL said it was the institutions and the state that were responsible for the inaction on law enforcement and judicial shortcomings. “Shifting the ‘blame’ onto society as a whole, implying that every member of the population bears equal responsibility for this latest femicide, is a manipulative tactic and a cynical attempt at masking the truth,” the MWL said, referring to Robert Abela’s comments on the Bernice Cassar murder.

“When those who hold power shift blame, by watering down their responsibility and making empty promises, their behaviour is akin to that of perpetrators who gaslight, minimise their responsibility and give false assurances.

“It is all well and good to churn out the usual clichés, that ‘we must do better’, or promising to implement the right reforms to effect change. Bernice Cassar did everything in her power, and more, to keep herself and her children safe. We do not need another inquiry to tell us if anything could have been done differently.”