Featured image: the SOAR team together with Cohort4 in the UK during a recent training visit
Bouncing back from a traumatic experience is much easier said than done, but sometimes, all you’d need is someone who understands what you’ve been through and is ready to be by your side as you try to move on.
SOAR Malta is a service of the NGO St. Jeanne Antide Foundation (SJAF) which aims at facilitating the healing and recovery process of domestic abuse survivors and their children.
The service offers emotional, informative, hands-on and psychological support through top-notch domestic violence programs facilitated by professionals or peers. It also raises awareness with the public by organising prevention workshops.
And its services include three main functions.
1. They foster an attitude of support
There’s a strong feeling of sisterhood among group members, and this helps to combat the memories of isolation and alienation from the violent relationship that they went through.
2. They raise awareness with the public
It does this through the prevention workshops that it organises on gender equality, on the realities of the experience, on the signs, the red flags and on how one can find help and support.
3. They advocate for improved policies
The SOAR activists lobby for better laws and practices that aim to bring social justice to survivors and survivors of violence.
The SOAR support group is only available to women. This has to do with the fact that it’s a user-led service run by women survivors of intimate partner violence. In this way they’re able to reach out to others based on the experiences that they have had in their own lives.
SOAR Malta provides training to practitioners and professionals who want to understand the survivor’s perspectives. Its own volunteers also embark on the training programmes themselves.
“And starting in 2019, we are launching our new peer-mentorship programme,” Elaine Compagno of SOAR told Lovin Malta. “In a few weeks’ time, the programme will be launched where trained survivors are matched with survivors who are struggling in any area of their journey to support them as a big sister would.”
SOAR Malta is currently working on renovating a house which will have spaces designed for SOAR’s services, which include providing support, healing, learning and innovation for gainful employment for socially excluded and vulnerable women.
“We do so much at SOAR Malta and our services cannot fit in the spaces at our current offices,” Compagno told Lovin Malta. She also mentioned that SOAR Malta will need all the help that they can get in order to fund this project.
At the same time, they stand in solidarity with men who are victims of all types of violence.
The St. Jeanne Antide Foundation (SJAF) is a non-government organization founded by the the Malta Province of the Sisters of Charity and administered by a Governing Board.
SOAR Malta recommends the national crisis supportline (179) for those looking for support. You can donate to SOAR Malta by clicking here.