8th March is International Women’s Day and we at Cohort 4 reflect on our work with organisations in Malta connected to prevention of gender based and domestic violence.
Within our social enterprise trading arm, Cohort 4 have for some years delivered training regarding risk relating to domestic violence and the DASH (2009) Risk Checklist to social work, domestic violence risk assessessors and to senior police professionals in Malta. We took this risk assessment process from the UK to Malta and have shared knowledge about multi agency practice and appropriate information sharing protocols. As well as delivered training to multi agency professionals in Malta, we’ve made many firm friendships and connections.
Katya Unah the Assistant Director of the Commission on Gender Based Violence and Domestic Violence in Malta discusses here, the Commission’s collaboration with Cohort 4 and joint work to improve the safety of women and children experiencing domestic violence,
“As Malta embarked on strengthening its policy and legislation in the area of gender-based violence and domestic violence, it sought to also empower professionals with further knowledge and equip them with the necessary skills to assess the level of risk that victims go through when experiencing violence.
The introduction of a risk assessment tool ensured that professionals will be able to work more closely with the victim and also build a stronger case for the law courts to issue protection orders. Thus, in collaboration with Cohort 4, the Maltese stakeholders working in the field of GBV and DV, namely the Malta Police Force, Risk Assessors and the Social Workers from the national social support agency were trained on how to use the DASH risk assessment tool which is an integral part of addressing the need for protection of victims.
In practice, the risk assessment tool is now being utilized for every DV report being lodged at the Malta Police Force; whereby a specialized unit on GBV and DV within the Force assists victims and calls on Social Workers to carry out the assessment to determine the level of risk. This will then be used to alert the Duty Magistrate to trigger the protection order mechanism. It also helps the social workers to design a plan of care and safety for the victim to be free from harm and violence.
Thus, on the occasion of Women’s Day I would like to thank Cohort 4 for this collaboration and for professionally taking on board the task of mentoring and guiding the Maltese professionals into using this assessment tool because it has surely empowered them to protect those experiencing GBV and DV.”
Peer Mentoring accredited training delivery to SOAR Malta 2018 – 2021
In addition to risk assessment and management processes, Cohort 4 have brought their OCN Level 3 accredited Reintegrative Mentoring© package of training to women Peer Mentors at SOAR. Originally formed by Elaine Campagno within the St Jeanne Antide Foundation, SOAR is a women survivor support group that makes a profound difference to women and children who have experienced domestic violence.
‘Soar is a user-led service that works towards enabling survivors of violence in intimate relationships to pick up the pieces and bounce back with resilience, towards a life of dignity, wellbeing and justice.’ SOAR Malta.
We feel a real connection with such a similar grass root women’s groups both here in the UK and our ‘sisters international’ group in Malta. In 2018 a group of Peer Mentors came over from Malta to Atherstone to spend a week with us: completed several training units including DASH (2009) Risk Checklist, shopping, visiting Safer Places in Essex and of course, lots of discussions, outings and more shopping!
Since then, we’ve delivered DASH (2009) Risk Checklist training to peer mentors at SOAR, we’ve delivered peer mentoring refresher training and have offered supportive supervision to the new SOAR Coordinator Shakira Fenech and her team, helping to advise on the scale up of purpose in Malta of this important voluntary based, social enterprise group.
Further collaboration and ‘Women Supporting Women’ Cohort 4 work with the Commission on Gender Based Violence and Domestic Violence as well as SOAR in 2021
Cohort 4 are pleased to collaborate further with Malta through 2021. We are delivering online an enhanced programme of units from our accredited Reintegrative Mentoring© package. We have developed more units and have re-written existing ones especially SOAR in 2021, responding to the requirements of the Istanbul Convention and the recent GREVIO report on Malta’s response to gender based and domestic violence. Malta ratified the Istanbul Convention in July 2014 and as Katya Unah outlined above, Malta is working to further strengthen policy, legislation and practice in the area of gender-based violence and domestic violence.
Cohort 4 are passionate about peer mentoring and peer support for women surviving abuse and in supporting women to improve their freedom from violence as well as their emotional and financial independence. There is a wealth of strength and skills within communities of women and we know that in creating our own community, we no longer have to ‘do to’ women, or even ‘do with.’ We can ‘do for ourselves’, developing communities of interest where we create enabling and determined women’s groups to reach out and to support other women on their path to a safer life.
Thank you to our friends in Malta, to our international friends and to our SOAR sisters in Tarxien. We continue to appreciate both our collaboration and our friendship.
Beverley, Rachel and all at Cohort 4