Europe

‘Know Your Rights’

2022-03-28 12:24:04 sisd 17
Introduction

To provide a first point of information for persons with disabilities by establishing an interactive
online platform which contains answers to several questions commonly faced by persons with
disabilities. The questions have been shaped following the carrying out of desktop research as well
as qualitative research to identify the challenges that persons with disabilities face when seeking
information. The areas that are addressed include Education, Employment, Estate Planning,
Guardianship, Health Care, Leisure, Sport, Goods and Services, Abuse and Violence, Hate Crimes and
Access to Justice. Key Activities included research, development of website and an awareness and
dissemination campaign.

Objective of the practice

Access to information is fundamental for the enjoyment and fulfilment of basic rights such as access
to education, healthcare, employment and equality. In addition to being a fundamental right in
itself, access to information and justice is also essential in terms of development and poverty
reduction.
Access to information provides persons with disabilities with that knowledge or guidance required
for them to be able to lead a dignified life by accessing their rights. Information can lead to achieving
justice. In this regard, the project provides a form of guidance and initial point of information
through the creation of a multi-media website which answers questions to issues commonly faced
by persons with disabilities. The answers to such challenges provide not only an initial guidance but
also connect persons with disability with the relevant authority or entity from where services or
advice may be obtained. In this respect, the website is not only a form of initial guidance but also a
referral system to other entities which are important. This empowers persons with disability and
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their carers to know their rights and enables them to seek access to such rights. It also provides
them with information on where to obtain professional advice and services from, as well as give
them guidance on how to exercise their rights and procedures. The project seeks to empower all
persons with disability and therefore includes persons with physical disability, mental health issues
and learning difficulties.
Objectives of the Project:
• Increase awareness and knowledge of the rights of persons with disability
• Encourage empowerment of persons with disability
• Increase access to justice and rights for persons with disability
• Support persons with disability with initial guidance on accessing rights and justice
These objectives were achieved through the following key activities:
• Comprehensive research study into the main issues, interests and obstacles faced by
persons with disability
• Design and development of frequently asked questions (FAQs)
• Authoring of scripts and Production of audio visual features related to the FAQs
• Authoring of scripts, designing and printing of leaflets in Maltese, English and Braille.
• Dissemination of FAQs, audio visual features and leaflets across the Maltese Islands
• Design of a webpage to host all content produced in the activities of this project.
• Social Media Campaign
• Awareness raising activities including a final Event to launch the website held on the 21st
January 2019 & a follow up session with key stakeholders held on 21st February for those who were
unable to attend the launch.
Distinguishing Features:
This project is completely in line with Goal 10 which is to reduce inequalities by empowering and
promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race,
ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status. Whilst this project was specifically dedicated
to persons with disability, all persons with disability can benefit from the content of the website
regardless of their sex, age, religion, economic standing or political views.

Key stakeholders and partnerships

Partnerships:
Inspire’s ‘Know Your Rights’ Project was carried out in collaboration with the Richmond Foundation
and funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme managed by the Malta Council for
the Voluntary Sector on behalf of Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sports and Voluntary
Organisations within the Ministry of Education and Employment.
Beneficiaries:
• All persons with disability across the Maltese Islands (Malta & Gozo)
• Their parents/carers/legal guardians
• Disability Associations
• Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD)
• Platform for Human Rights Organizations in Malta (PHROM)
• Entities providing Services to Persons with Disability

Implementation of the Project/Activity

The project was implemented through the following key activities:
• Comprehensive research study into the main issues, interests and obstacles faced by
persons with disability
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• Design and development of frequently asked questions (FAQs)
• Authoring of scripts and Production of audio-visual features related to the FAQs
• Authoring of scripts, designing and printing of leaflets in Maltese, English and Braille.
• Dissemination of FAQs, audio visual features and leaflets across the Maltese Islands
• Design of a webpage to host all content produced in the activities of this project.
• Social Media Campaign
• Awareness raising activities including a final Event to launch the website held on the 21st
January 2019 & a follow up session with key stakeholders held on 21st February for those who were
unable to attend the launch.

Results/Outputs/Impacts

As the website was launched just over a month ago, it is too soon following the launch of the site to
establish the full impact of this project on the target audience. However, the legal analysis &
qualitative study results will help further develop policy & service development.
Extract from Legal Analysis:
1. New Legislation:
a) To make the UNCRPD an integral part of the laws of Malta;
b) To amend the Constitution of Malta to include disability as another ground on which
discrimination is outlawed;
c) The Protection of Vulnerable Older Persons and Adults with Persons with Disability;
d) The Personal Autonomy Act so that all persons with disability will be assisted with the
decision-making process rather than having a substitute to take such decisions even “if it is in the
best interest” of the disabled person concerned;
e) So that Maltese will be in a position to make advanced directive or living will to be able to
express how they would like to be cared for if they become very severely disabled;
f) The necessary legislation on noise abatement.
2. Policy:
g) Finalize the Malta Disability Strategy after amending it to include deadlines, strategies
related to Article 13 of the UNCRPD (the right to equal recognition before the law), disability
pension, whilst amending other like those related to sign language;
h) The ten years plan planned for 2020-2030 for Mount Carmel Hospital and mental health
provisions should be launched as soon as possible and take less time to be implemented.
3. Procedures:
a) The Courts should develop an effective means to gather evidence from persons with disability
including videoconferencing, the support of trusted friends and sign language interpreters;
b) Offensive terms still prevalent in Maltese legislation, (e.g The Code of Organisation and Civil
Procedure and the Civil Code) should be changed.
c) Disabled students should benefit from better vocational education;
d) The Guardianship board, after the necessary consultation, should issue guidelines to guardians to
help them in fulfilling their responsibilities;
f) The Empowerment Scheme and the Grant on Purchase of Specialized Equipment of Aġenzija
Sapport should be extended to cover the whole cost needed to buy the necessary equipment.
4. Personnel and training:
a) The Education Department should have the necessary professional staff, with special
reference to psychologists and LSEs, to ensure that disabled children receive their educational
entitlement to the full and without the parents having to pay for parts of this entitlement;
b) LSEs should be fully trained and a solution is found so that disabled children are not sent
home when their LSE is absent;
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c) Students with physical impairments only should be supported by Personal Support
Assistants rather than LSEs;
5. Physical Accessibility:
e) The Law Courts in Gozo, the Ombudsman’s office and most police stations should be made
accessible to all;
f) The Gzira Health Centre should be made accessible to all without further delay.
6. Awareness Raising:
a) More awareness campaigns to educate the public from childhood about disability issues

Enabling factors and constraints

Enabling Factors:
• Funding received through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme managed by the
Malta Council for the voluntary Sector on behalf of Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sports and
Voluntary Organisations within the Ministry of Education and Employment.
• Positive response received in relation to the call for applications submitted for the Research,
Development of the Leaflets, Videos and website.
• Positive response to research by relevant stakeholders, including participation in interviews
and focus groups that were well attended.
Innovations:
• The development of the website which centralizes all information and provides answers to
questions and challenges commonly faced by persons with disabilities and other learning difficulties.
• Publication of the research carried out.
Constraints:
• On-going Maintenance of the website to ensure that all data is kept up to date and accurate.
• The website can only provide initial guidance on how to access rights and procedures

Sustainability and replicability

Cost of maintaining the website has been factored into the organizations budgets moving forward.
This includes manpower required to ensure content is up to date & accurate.
Inspire is also looking to publish the research that was carried out and will forward to key
stakeholders involved in policy development.
The research results will also enable Inspire and other entities supporting service delivery to persons
with disability to further develop its services considering gaps in service provision.

Conclusions

Given that the website was launched just over a month ago, it is still early in the day following the
launch of the site to establish the full impact of this project on the target audience. However, this
project was very well received and we are already receiving requests from other entities to have
their own work linked to this platform. The launch was attended and promoted by the Hon. Mr
Anthony Decelis, Parliamentary Secretary for Persons with Disability and Active Ageing.
The launch was aired on TVM (national public broadcasting station) on the 21st January, as well as
on other national private-run television stations.
Interviews were held on radio stations, including One Radio, Bay Radio and Radju Malta. The launch
of the web-site was also reported in a number of nationally published newspapers and online news
portals.

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