[WATCH] Domestic violence: We just don’t know how big the problem is

Domestic violence is the most underreported crime in Malta, Equality Minister Helena Dalli says during the unveiling of a 16-day awareness campaign

Equality Minister Helena Dalli
Equality Minister Helena Dalli
Helena Dalli on violence against women

Police stations will be improved to provide more privacy and officers will be given more training to better deal with cases of domestic violence, Equality Minister Helena Dalli said.

"The cases of domestic violence we know about are only a small fraction since it is the most unreported crime," Dalli said at the launch of an awareness campaign on domestic violence.

The campaign titled ‘Love Does Not Hurt - 16 Days of Activism’ aims to put the issue on the national agenda. The theme challenges the myth that domestic violence is a result of love within a household.

“We can never speak enough about the issue of violence, and we know that a large part of the victims are women,” Dalli said, adding that now that women are more assertive than before, the reality of violence against them is coming to the fore.

Dalli said that the problem of violence exists everywhere there are men and women together, including politics and show business.

Things are now changing, she said, as girls are being encouraged to speak out. “It used to be that what happened behind closed doors, stayed behind closed doors.”

Dalli said laws were important but they could only reach so far. “In public, we must show that domestic violence is unacceptable,” she said, reiterating that in cases of domestic violence it should be the aggressor who should be removed from the household and not the victim.

Dalli said society should not tolerate violence. “We need violent people to feel that they are outcasts," she added.

Asked about the recent Facebook threat against Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola , Dalli condemned the attack and insisted freedom of expression should not be used to hurt others. "We need to have a mature society which is capable of expressing itself in a civil manner without hurting anyone.”

The campaign will consist of a host of conferences held by various organisations, including the University of Malta, MCAST, Malta Girl Guides, the Humanist Association, Fondazzjoni IDEAT and others.

A draft policy including media guidelines on domestic violence was also launched, urging reporters to proceed with care when it comes to dealing with such instances.

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