The project entitled Violet Support Online – Improving Support Structures for Victims of Gender-Based Violence (GB-VSO) is in partnership with 5 partners from the public, private and civil society sector. The partners are Solidarity and Overseas Service Malta (SOS Malta), Victim Support Malta, CORE platform, Commission on Domestic Violence (CDV) and Advenio E-academy (AeA LTD). This project is being funded by the European Union (EU) DG Justice Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme and will run from November 2018 until October 2020.
The need for this project came about following an assessment of the national scenario. There is very little research in Malta looking at GBV specifically, yet Malta is currently one of the countries in Europe with the worst attitudes to Gender-Based Violence. A study carried out by Eurobarometer (Special Eurobarometer 449- Gender-Based Violence, 2016), and utilised by FRA highlights the trend in Malta where ‘victim-blaming is rife’. Compounding this situation, there is also a lack of understanding from the victim themselves what their rights are and how they can tackle this situation, as well as a fear of reporting.
As a project, GB-VSO aims to tackle the above issues and provide protection and support for Victims of Gender-Based Violence. It follows the premise that providing comprehensive support structures, increasing the capacity to respond, together with awareness raising will contribute to ensuring that victims understand their situation, and feel empowered and supported to speak out. This project will specifically look at the workplace as a place where support structures could be strengthened.
The project’s main objectives are firstly to increase awareness around GBV in Malta, and in particular within the workplace. This project will seek to enhance cross sectoral collaboration in developing responses to GBV in Malta and will seek to build the capacity of Managers and HR staff to better respond to cases of GBV. The project will provide comprehensive online, confidential and anonymous support system for victims of GBV.
As a first step, the project had undertaken national level research with employers and employees to provide a comprehensive understanding for all about the different needs and gaps in service provision related to Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
Subsequently, the development and implementation of a comprehensive online level 5 training programme for HR managers and managers will be devised and implemented. This will help increase the knowledge and capacity of Managers/HR Managers to deal with GBV in the workplace.
Additionally, the provision of online support services will ensure that victims have the option to seek face to face support in the workplace or anonymous and confidential support online. This will provide a sound support structure for the victim that will enable them to speak out. Furthermore, this project will also offer multi-lingual support for foreign residents. This online system will provide support and will focus on empowering victims to speak out.
Finally, this project will implement a comprehensive marketing and outreach strategy to also increase the awareness and understanding of GBV and how to tackle it among society and the general public, particularly in the workplace.
The Ministry for Education and Employment is partly financing the co-financing borne by Victim Support Malta for the purpose of the GBVSO project.