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Neil Cassar

on 14 November 2013

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Transcript of Ethics

History of domestic violence

Domestic Violence - Definition & Forms of violence

Cycle of violence

Why victims leave

Prevalence of domestic violence & the Law

Services offered to victim of domestic violence
 Ghabex
 Dar Qalb ta Gesu'

Role of social worker

Ethical Issues - in domestic violence residential setting

Case examples

History of
Domestic Violence in Malta

 1980 Merhba Bik first shelter accessible to women and children experiencing domestic violence
 Following this, Dar Qalb ta' Gesu was founded in 1993
 Domestic Violence Unit of Agenzija Appogg established in 1994
 Appogg opened another shelter in 2000 - Ghabex
 During this period, by Law women were considered as being inferior on various levels when compared to men. In fact, the law allowed men to reprimand their wives within moderation.
 Patriarchal Society- Men are considered as; breadwinners, heads of families and supreme leaders thus making them superior to women
 Domestic violence is not a recent phenomenon it can be dated back to the late eighteen century.
 The Commission on Domestic Violence was set up in 2006
"Domestic violence shall mean all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur within the family or domestic unit or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim" (Council of Europe, 2011).
Domestic violence takes many forms, with the most prominent being;

1. Physical abuse
2. Sexual abuse
3. Emotional abuse

What is Domestic Violence
Tactics used by abuser
A need to feel in charge, all decisions are made for you
Instigate feelings of worthlessness, shame, good for nothing
Intention of increasing dependence on abuser & to keep abuse quiet
Used to control victims, threats to victims children, family & friends
Main message of you do not obey there will be consequences
Denial & blame
Abuser makes excuses for their behaviour or blames victim
Why victims leave
The decision that women take to leave their partner is often based upon certain circumstances which Hester, Person & Harwin (2000) suggest are:
Perceived dangerousness (he will kill her regardless if she stays or leaves)
Access to money, housing & other resources
The (anticipated or perceived) reaction of their family & friends
The (anticipated or perceived) reaction of the agencies she approaches
The emotional attachment to her partner
Domestic Violence and the Law
Domestic violence is Malta is regarded as a criminal offence which is why it is specified under the following legislation;
Criminal Code of Malta Chapter 9
Civil Code under Chapter 16
Domestic Violence Act in Chapter 481

Violence recognized under the Domestic Violence Act includes:
1. Physical violence
2. Sexual violence
3. Psychological/ emotional violence
4. Controlling/domineering
5. Intimidation
6. Stalking
7. Passive covert abuse
8. Social violence
9. Economic Violence

Most recent study on domestic violence was carried out by Marika Fsadni in 2011. Results exhibited that from 1,154 women;
 23% (266) experienced emotionally abuse behaviors;
 12% (140) experienced abusive behaviors linked to physical violence
 9% (109) experienced sexually abusive behaviors

Prevalence of Domestic Violence in Malta
In 2012, an additional 1118 people reported being victims of violence:
860 women
258 men

In 2013 a further 249 cases were reported between January and May.
Domestic Violence Services - Malta
 The Domestic Violence Unit with Agenzija Appogg

 Shelters:
 Merhba Bik
 Dar Qalb ta' Gesu'
 Ghabex
 Dar Carolina (Gozo)
 Suret il- Bniedem
 Dar Tereza Sinelli

 Men's Service

 Perpetrators Service

Dar Qalb ta’ Gesu'
Second stage shelter

Service Users:
Women & their children experiencing domestic violence in intimate and family relationships
Access to shelter:
 Following an assessment referrals are received through DVU within Agenzija Appogg as part of client’s agreed care plan.

 Depends whether shelter service would be the best to meet client’s needs

 Does not admit emergency cases

 Duration of stay approximately 18 months

Services offered:
 Safe environment conductive to self-healing
 Safe refugee for women and children fleeing
 24 hour intervention service
 Supported by key workers in areas such as;
 Parenting skills
 Self -awareness
 Budgeting skills
 Anger management
 Home management skills
 Socio-educational skills
 Employment skills and further education
 Gaining independence & supporting them in effective decision making

Role of social worker (general):
 Advocating especially in legal matters

 Informing; provide information about resources that focus on family violence

 Empower women & children and support them in their needs

 Nonjudgmental service that respects women’s rights to self determination

 Help women establish links with other community resources

Emergency Shelter

Service Users:
 Women and children experiencing domestic violence

 Minors experiencing domestic violence maximum of 2 at one go

 Victims of human trafficking
Access to shelter:

Women & children

 Police
 Support line 179
 Social workers from DVU within Appogg


 Support line 179
 Police
 Social workers from DVU within Appogg
 With consent from parents

Victims of human trafficking:


Duration of stay 3 months for victims of domestic violence. Victims of human trafficking can stay up till around a year.

Services offered:
Intake sessions

 Assessment from DVU social workers

 Individual care plans

 evaluation

 Support groups for women and children

 Help and support with regards to the following issues:

 Housing
 Health
 Employment
 Court cases

Work closely with other shelters – Merhba Bik, Dar Qalb ta’ Gesu’, Suriet il-Bniedem, Dar Teresa Spinelli.

Relationship Boundaries
One resident discloses certain ‘problematic’ information to another resident that then passes this information on to a social worker.
If the social worker confronts resident with problem then it is obvious who disclosed information.
If social worker does not confront resident about the problem it will remain and possibly get worse

The social worker notices that her client is abusing her children. Knowing that if she reports her client to child protective services her client will lose all trust is her, what is the social worker to do?

Fraudulent declarations
A resident who benefits from social assistance has disclosed to her social worker that she is employed and is holding a job. This is considered to be fraud under the Social Security Act Chapter 318 of the Laws of Malta. What should the social worker do with this information?

A mother has put down ‘unknown father’ on her child’s birth certificate, throughout their work together, the social worker learns that the mother knows who her child’s father is and that the father also visits his daughter. Should the social worker report her client knowing that she will lose her trust or should she respect her client’s decisions?

Shelter/ Service
A resident has completed her program and her 18 months of stay have come to an end. She is not financially capable of supporting herself and has not managed to find a home for herself yet. She cannot exceed her stay at the shelter, what should the social worker do?
Disclosing sensitive information to client
A social worker notices her client exhibiting certain behaviors that she feels needs psychiatric attention, how should she inform her client?
A resident is disrespecting other residents and is insulting staff members and social workers.
Should the social worker give this person a warning despite knowing that she is passing through a very difficult time?

Client self determination
A women residing in the shelter is receiving threatening phone calls from her abusive partner. Her social worker advises her to file a report against her partner however after being encouraged on multiple occasions the women still has not reported her partner.
Residents re-visiting shelter
Victims re-visit the shelter they sought refuge in
Ethical Issues
Should information regarding the client be divulged to all professionals working with that client, or should only relevant information be shared?

Should other residents be informed in the case of health issues? Clients right to confidentiality versus residents right of knowing whether they are at risk

Case Study 1
Karen is a 40 year old women who is residing at Dar Qalb ta’ Gesu’ together with her two children; Abby who is seven years old and Sam who is ten years old. Karen is being physically abused by her husband this is why she has chosen to leave the abusive relationship and seek refuge at a shelter. After being assigned a social worker from the Domestic Violence Unit it was agreed upon that she would reside at Dar Qalb ta’ Gesu’, at second stage domestic violence shelter. Once at the shelter, Karen disclosed to Mary another resident that she practices satanic rituals. Mary was scared and feared her own wellbeing and she decided to pass on this information to Karen’s social worker. Given that Satanism is a violation of the Civil Code and goes against the Maltese religion what was the social worker to do?
Can you identify the ethical dilemmas faced by the social Worker?
Which of Loewenberg & Dolgoff Ethical Principles apply?
1. Principle to the protection of life
2. Principle of equality and Inequality
3. Principle of autonomy and freedom
4. Principle of least harm
5. Principle of quality of life
6. Principle of privacy and confidentiality
7. Principle of truthfulness and full disclosure

How do you think the social worker proceeded?
1. The social worker did not confront Karen as she did not want to implicate Mary

2. The social worker reported Karen to the police

3. Karen was allowed to stay at the shelter but she was asked to leave her door open and not practice any satanic rituals

4. Karen was presented with the option of practicing her satanic rituals elsewhere

Case Study 2
Lisa is a 45 year old woman who is residing at Dar Qalb ta’ Gesu’ together with her fifteen year old son Franky. Lisa has aggressive tendencies which she displays on a regular basis. She often throws tantrums if she disagrees with other residents and workers or when she is confronted about any issues. Lisa is passing through a very difficult time as she is faced with the following problems; her husband constantly calls her to frustrate her; her eighteen year old daughter Susie emotionally abuses her by calling her names and she finds it difficult to control her son. Although Lisa’s social worker tries to be understanding of her situation, there is only so much she can overlook as her temper tantrums are scaring both the workers and the residents. On one particular occasion, Lisa stormed into the office muttering “I am going to kill my husband” walking directly into the kitchen where she knew the workers kept a knife. Although the workers tried to stop her she was twice their size and they couldn’t stop her. On her way out they informed her that they would be calling the police.
Can you identify the ethical dilemmas faced by the social Worker?
Which of Loewenberg & Dolgoff Ethical Principles apply?
1. Principle to the protection of life
2. Principle of equality and Inequality
3. Principle of autonomy and freedom
4. Principle of least harm
5. Principle of quality of life
6. Principle of privacy and confidentiality
7. Principle of truthfulness and full disclosure

How do you think the social worker proceeded?
1. Upon her return Lisa’s social worker sat down with her and they discussed the incident and what her options were.

2. The social worker called the police and Lisa was arrested for attempted murder

3. The doctor was summoned and Lisa was admitted into Mount Carmel hospital

Azzopardi, A. (2003). What effect does staying in a women's shelter have on women? Published Thesis B.A. (HONS) Social Work. University of Malta.

Azzopardi, J., Scicluna, S., Formosa Pace, J., & Formosa, S. (2013) Policewomen and the policing of domestic violence in the centre of the Mediterranean. Sociology mind 3(3): 238-247. University of Malta.

Calleja, C. (2013). Domestic violence means more than physical harm. Times of Malta. Retrieved October 21st, 2013, from http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130308/local/-Domestic-violence-means-more-than-physical-harm-.460686#.UmkkpTlBvIW

Council of Europe. (2011). Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Istanbul.

Dolgoff, R. , Harrington, D., & Loewenberg, F. M. (2012). Ethical decisions for social work practice (9th Ed.) California: Brooks/ Cole, Cengage Learning.

Government of Malta. (2006). Laws of Malta (Chapter 481) Malta: Domestic Violence Act.

Government of Malta. (2012) Commission on Domestic Violence. Retrieved October 21st, 2013, from https://secure3.gov.mt/socialpolicy/SocProt/family/domestic_violence/domestic_violence_overview.aspx

Gauci, M. (2011). Domestic violence services in Malta: Appogg. STARR EU Project Final Conference: What works in reducing re-offending? Retrieved October 21st, 2013, from ww.cepprobation.org.

Fsadni, M., & Associates. (2011). Comission on domestic violence. A nationwide research study on the prevalence of domestic violence against women in Malta and its impact on their employment prospects. Research findings report. Fsadni & Associates.

Savona Ventura, M. (1994). The dilemma of the battered wife: Choices and options following respite at the refuge. DIP.SOC.STUD. University of Malta.

Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2013). Domestic violence and abuse.HelpGuide.org. Retrieved October 21st, 2013, from www.helguide.org.

Women Against Violence Europe. (2012). Reality check on data collection and European services for women and children survivors of violence. A right for protection and support? WAVE Office & Austrian Women's Shelter Network. Vienna, Austria.
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