Dr Andrew Azzopardi, Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing, recently held a meeting with representatives of the NGO Victim Support Malta (VSM) led by the reputable Dr Roberta Lepre. The meeting provided an opportunity to explore the possibility of strengthening cooperation between the Faculty for Social Wellbeing and a key grass-root organisation in the field of ‘criminality’.
The meeting between the Faculty and this estimable NGO explored the possibility of involving key stakeholders in shaping future educational collaborations which include the possibility of developing joint research projects with the ultimate aim of contributing towards more evidence-based policy development to keep struggling against the scourge of criminality.
An estimated 17,000 crimes in total and specifically 1,000 cases of domestic violence are reported to the police every year according to the crime trends researched by Professor Saviour Formosa, Head, Department of Criminology. The situation could be considered even more knotty if we had to unpack the dark figures of crime.
'I would also like to highlight the concern shared by VSM that key services, such as those provided by this NGO, are currently filling gaps in service delivery, which, on both a moral and statutory level, should be provided by the State. An alternative to this situation is that this NGO is funded adequately and sufficiently,' said Dr Azzopardi.
The Faculty for Social Wellbeing calls on the relevant policy makers to work together with front line NGOs to ensure continuity and sustainability of these essential services and the protection of its citizens. Whilst it recognizes that the Government has an array of priorities, the Faculty feels that it is imperative that the State keeps to its commitment and supports victims of violence as per statutory obligations.