Michael Falzon: domestic violence, including emotional and financial control, always condemnable

Financial dependence part of domestic violence, work to be done on facilitating financial independence for women, creating more awareness and tackling aggressors

Domestic violence included emotional abuse and financial control, family minister Michael Falzon said today
Domestic violence included emotional abuse and financial control, family minister Michael Falzon said today

There are various types of domestic violence, family minister Michael Falzon said today, which include physical violence, emotional violence and financial dependence, all of which were condemnable without any excuse.

Speaking at the end of a domestic violence conference entitled 'Ghajta Mohbija: Il-Vjolenza Domestika u l-Faqar', organised by the Anti-Poverty Forum, Falzon emphasised that although we usually think of a punch or a slap when we speak about violence, there was also violence which breaks the victim psychologically.

He highlighted that, unfortunately, most of the time domestic violence is perpetrated by a man on his female partner.

Falzon said that many times violence became a vicious circle, and can be connected to other factors such as  alcohol and drug abuse, gambling and usury.

Poverty could also come about as a direct result of the violence, if, for instance, the husband tried to prevent his wife from going to work, or if he forced her into prostitution.

Many times the purpose of domestic violence was for the aggressor to control and dominate the victim, resulting in making them submissiv and leaving them with their back to the wall.

Women depending on their husbands for money was a form of control which was also a type of domestic violence.

He maintained that, moving forward, domestic violence had to be tackled in a more holistic way, involving not only the police and social workers, but also treatment for the person responsible for the violence.

More empowerment to the victims was also essential, as they many times felt that they were somehow to blame for the violence inflicted upon them, he said, as he highlighted that empowerment can only come through giving independence to the victim.

In view of this, he suggested that the three main things to be done to combat the issue of domestic violence were facilitating independence for women, such as through in-work benefits and free childcare; working to create more awareness and eliminate the stigma of speaking up about violence; and tackling the aggressors by making them address their aggression.

“People need to be won over through love, not through violence,” he accentuated.

The conference was bringing to an end a 16-day domestic awareness violence campaign, he said, as he thanked all those working to fight the issue.

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