The outbreak of the pandemic in Malta has led to children increasing time at home with abusers.
Malta Microfinance outlined this in a statement, saying that the pandemic has brought about new levels of hardship faced by Maltese and non-Maltese alike. The most concerning issue, it said, is the increase in the presentation of individuals facing abuse at home. MMF said that it has seen an increase in victims of domestic violence, both physical and psychological, who approach MMF looking for solutions and alternatives.
It said that this issue is often exacerbated by the presence of children in the household who have not been going to school or outdoor activities, increasing their risk by increasing time at home with abusers.
MMF is Malta’s only registered non-profit lending organization and is regulated by MFSA. MMF gives small loans of up to €2,500 to people looking to engage in education, to start or expand small businesses or to escape unsuitable housing. MMF specialises in assisting vulnerable people such as single women, migrants or low-income households.
MMF noted the significant increases in requests for support for immediate needs (nappies, food, fuel etc), and a lack of understanding from landlords leading to a rise in those presenting at MMF with no fixed abode at all. Furthermore, it bore witness to the devastating reports of employment exploitation with temporary workers going unpaid through the COVID crisis, having no written contracts, or being subjected to endless rotations of unpaid trial periods.
However, under MMF’s remit it cannot give loans to those who would be unable to repay, nor can it give loans to pay general expenses or to repay other debts. MMF stated that it has been referring people who need help to other services that can support them. Meanwhile, it said that it cannot sit by in silence without pointing out Covid-19’s effects on the unmet needs of the vunerable members of the community.