Breaking the Cycle of Violence


About the Project

Following the 2014 ratification of the Council of Europe (CoE) Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, Malta committed itself to strengthen national legislation and reorganise current services in the field of Violence Against Women (VAW). A set of amendments, intended to update national legislation in line with the standards of the Convention, were launched for public consultation in 2016, which were eventually passed into law in May 2018. Breaking the Cycle of Violence is one of two projects that aims to complement the reform of the Convention.

The Project Aims

This project is co-financed by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) programme of the EU with a budget of around €350,000. The project aims to raise awareness among victims of domestic violence, and potential victims including women with disabilities, LBTI women and migrant women. These target groups were identified as more susceptible to be victims of violence, in the survey Violence against women: an EU-wide survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) which found that 15% of women in Malta have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a current or a previous partner since the age of 15. Furthermore, the survey found that across Member States, 16% of non-heterosexual women say they have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a male non-partner since the age of 15, compared to 12% of heterosexual women, whereas 11% non-heterosexual women have experienced this type of violence by female perpetrators, compared with 4% of heterosexual women. The survey also showed that 34% of women who have health problems or have a form of disability have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner compared to 19% of those who do not have a health problem or a form of disability. Local research carried out by the Commission on Gender-based Violence and Domestic Violence (2014) also show an increasing number of migrant women seeking support services at emergency and second-stage shelters when compared to previous years where residents were mainly of Maltese origin.

Taking into consideration these statistics, the project aims to address the needs for further data collection, research, analysis and dissemination of results on the perception of domestic violence among the general population; to further empowerment of victims and raise awareness among vulnerable groups; and identify and change negative attitudes and behaviours towards VAW and thus help them break the cycle of violence.

The project addresses these needs by tackling the below objectives:

  • Identifying behaviours and attitudes of victims experiencing violence against women (VAW) which impede them from breaking free from the cycle of violence;
  • Raising awareness among vulnerable groups of women with a focus on women with disabilities; migrant women; and lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex (LBTI) women, and for them to be informed about support services and protection measures;
  • Raising awareness among children and youths, and actively aging boys and men in the fight against VAW;
  • Raising awareness and encourage victims, potential victims and witnesses to report VAW and seek help;
  • Developing and implementing a set of mentoring workshops for victims experiencing VAW to instigate the behavioural changes required to break the cycle of VAW; and
  • Developing and implementing an educational programme for children and young adults on VAW prevention and spreading a clear message of zero tolerance to VAW.

In order to achieve these objectives, the project includes an awareness-raising campaign for the general public, information sessions, an educational programme for children and youth, a mentoring programme for women which fall under any one of the target groups mentioned above, as well as research on violence trends.

This project is being implemented in collaboration with the following partners:

  • The University of Malta (UoM)
  • The Malta Girl Guides (MGG)
  • The Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD)
  • The Migrant Women Association Malta (MWAM)
  • The Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM)

Project’s deliverables and activities

  • Launch Event
  • Victims of VAW and Target Groups
  • Train-the-trainer and Youth Ambassadors Weekend
  • Information Sessions
  • Telephone Surveys
  • University of Malta Research Report
  • ‘Be the Change’ Festival​
  • Final Conference

Awareness Raising Campaigns

Several awareness raising campaigns were organised at different stages of the project that were aimed at various target groups. These campaigns were disseminated across various mediums including social media, print media and through project website, amongst others.​