Police ignoring woman’s domestic abuse reports

'Unless he hurts you badly, don’t come to make a report'

(File photo)
(File photo)

A man has been fined just €300 after he was found guilty of insulting and physically attacking his ex-wife, following a relentless campaign of harassment and intimidation spanning years.

In a judgment handed down on 5 July, husband AB* was found guilty of making insults and threats which exceeded the limits of provocation, attacking the woman and slightly injuring her, as well as damaging her property in December 2018.

He was handed a €300 fine by Magistrate Astrid May Grima.

But his victim says the remarkably low sentence was par for the course. Speaking to MaltaToday, the wife CD* alleged that the police “are covering up” for the man, who is the subject of numerous restraining orders preventing him from approaching the woman.

Since his conviction, she says, he has already tried to contact her once.

CD had filed many police reports against her ex-husband, she says, “but the magistrate never saw the reports I was filing because the Inspector didn’t present her with them.” When she went to the police to obtain a copy of her reports, they were given to her with all the text blacked out, she said, pointing to photos which appear to show heavily redacted reports.

Sources involved in the police investigation claim the woman’s reports all had “very similar characteristics” and that this caused them to suspect that they were not true.

“Before you arraign someone, you must not have doubts and in this case it was just sightings,” said a source, giving an example of a time that AB had simply given way to the woman on a zebra crossing on one occasion.

“When the trouble started, 11 years ago, I had no idea what to do. I was alone with a baby,” CD said, adding that she had spent time living in a domestic violence shelter before moving into rented accommodation. “They [the police] had the evidence but they didn’t want to write it down. They never spoke to witnesses,” said the woman, not even when AB had been aggressive to her in the presence of a social worker and the police themselves.

“He told people that I had run away with the kids,” CD said. “He tried to choke me. If my son hadn’t shouted at him, I would be dead.”

CD also said that she found no police report number related to many of these incidents. “Every report I filed disappeared,” she said, detailing her various reports of the incidents.

“It’s my seventh report [of a breach of the protection order] in four months. He always claims to have made a mistake, but really, how many times can you make the same mistake?”

She had left home for a domestic violence shelter on 10 December and obtained a protection order on 22 February, but claims that she is still seeing him near her son’s school every day.

“At least three times a week we see him.” Despite her frequent reporting, the police had not checked CCTV and had not asked for the names of any witnesses, said the woman.

“The Inspector said that he needs to hurt me badly before he’s going to take action. ‘Unless he hurts you badly, don’t come to make a report,’” CD said.

Despite all she had gone through, the woman is philosophical. “I want him to get help because even if he goes to prison, two years later, he’ll be out and then… God help us. A friendship is a friendship but when the police have a duty to protect the people, you do your job.”

*Names have been anonymised to protect people’s identities