August 03, 2017

The Responsible Gaming Foundation organised a press conference and awareness activity on domestic violence and gambling at the Ħal Qormi Open Market Area.

The aim of the press conference was to educate and also serve as an opportunity for individuals to set their priorities right inorder to seek help if they are victims or the cause of domestic violence from a gambling addiction or usure problem.

The Chairman of the Responsible Gaming Foundation, Hon. Silvio Schembri addressed those present by outlining the huge presence of gambling in our Maltese society, a presence confirmed with the huge advances in technology, where nowadays everyone is capable to gamble with ease. Hon Schembri gave a detailed description of the publication being distributed by the Foundation and emphasized on one of the repercussions of gambling, which is Domestic Violence.

After stating that domestic violence is the third most reported crime in our country after theft and vandalism, he explained the Foundation’s aim to promote responsible gaming inorder to evade such consequences. Hon Schembri talked about the collaboration with the FSWS and what the Foundation is doing in this regard, where he talked about the national helpline 1777 specialised on gambling and its repercussions, the Educational Campaign, CSRP projects, Self Barring Forms and the Scholarship Programme. Hon. Schembri ended his address by outling the next steps for the Foundation’s future.

MEP Miriam Dalli agreed with Hon Schembri and stated that there is a correlation between gambling and domestic violence. Mrs Dalli also addressed all the legal aspects and the EU Law in respect to the subject. ‘’Professional help exists for all those that are in need. As the campaign states, family comes before the gambling problem. But we cannot stick to this campaign only. On a European note, we need to ractify the Istanbul Convention as Malta did, in order to send a strong political message that domestic violence needs to be addressed immediately. In order to have the best preactices to address this problem we need to have solid political grounds and adoptive measures from European Countries’’.

Joe Gerada, Chairman for the Commission for Domestic Violence stressed about the progress made so far in the field of domestic violence and gambling. Domestic violence and violence based on gender are both criminal offences with physical, psychological, sexual and economical repercussions. In fact a draft of law is being worked upon where fines will be increased as regards to violence against persons of different sex. The variety of domestic relationships will be widened so that more persons will be protected against the abuse of it. It is also a criminal offence if violence is practised in the presence of children.

‘’Violence leads to suffering at the financial cost of the state inorder to provide support services for those affected. This is not acceptable in a mature and just society. Violence does not reflect strength,’’ ended Gerada.

Alfred Grixti, CEO for the Foundation of Social Wellfare Services ended the discussion by talking about the support services existent for those that are in need of help from the Aġenzija Appoġġ and Sedqa. Together with Roberta Pace, Services Manager with FSWS they both emphasized on the national helpline 179 for those that are passing from social problems.

Agency Appogg provides help to victims of domestic violence and their children.  The aim of the service is to help victims, males and females, address their emotional, psychological and even their material/basic needs.  Agency Appogg also offers the service of an emergency shelter, Ghabex.  This residence accommodates women and children victims of domestic violence; it aims to provide a secure place for these victims, who in certain situations require an immediate safe place to stay.  Another service which complements these two services is the Managing Abusive Behaviour.  This service offers help to all those who are aggressive and who are willing to take responsibility for their abusive actions and are ready to address their behaviour and shift from abuse to respect.   Given that domestic violence is related to other social probelms such as gambling, alcohol and drug use, the social workers within Appogg always work in a multidisciplinary team together with other agencies and other services, amongst which there’s Sedqa, so that they would address the problems in a more holistic manner.

If you know of someone who is suffering from any type of abuse, you can make a police report or seek help from Agency Appogg.  Ideally the person you are referring would be willing to receive help.   We also encourage victims to report abuse and seek help from our services.  Those who have been aggressive are encouraged to take responsibility for their action and reach out for help so that they would become more respectful for their own benefit, for the benefit of their children and for the benefit of society in general.  One can access these services by contacting Agency Appogg on Supportline 179 or 22959000.

During the respective activity, the RGF staff also distributed promotional material and engaged directly with those present after the press conference.

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