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Violet Support Online which is now being sustained by SOS Malta and is being an integral part of GBV-SO project, funded by the European Union (EU)  DG Justice Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme and will run from November 2018 until October 2020. Violet Support Online is part of the GBVSO project, a partnership between Solidarity and Overseas Service Malta (SOS Malta), Victim Support Malta, CORE platform, Commission on Domestic Violence (CDV) and Advenio E-academy (AeA LTD).

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. Nonetheless, victims of crime still experience several consequences from the violence against them including, depression, isolation, fear and damage to property. These unwanted consequences of being a victim of a specific crime can lead to social exclusion. However, the needs of individuals who have been victimised differ in each case and each individual needs different interventions to cater for their needs. We do not adhere to a one-size-fits all approach in which face-to-face services is the only means of support for individuals. Violet Support Online serves as a medium through which we would hope that more individuals who experienced the aftermath of violence to seek support in a confidential and anonymous manner.

In accordance with the 2012/29 EU Directive on Victims’ Rights, Violet Support Online shall aid in supporting victims of gender-based violence and directing them towards information which is relevant to their specific case; be it practical information or legal advice. Also the information regarding the services which could provide tailored support to the service user will also be provided. The service user will be provided with instant and anonymous support either through chat or email.

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 Ministry for Education and Employment is partly financing the co-financing borne by SOS Malta, VSM and CORE for the purpose of the GBVSO project.