Enough with hollow promises on domestic violence, Malta Women's Lobby tells government

The Malta Women's Lobby stated that authorities continue to fall short in addressing the pressing issue of domestic violence

File photo
File photo

The Malta Women's Lobby (MWL) has once again stated that authorities are not doing enough to ensure the protection and timely justice for victims of domestic violence.

Despite the conclusion of the 16 days of activism, the MWL emphasised that the authorities continue to fall short in addressing the pressing issue of domestic violence. “With a backlog of 2283 cases,  evidently the appointment of a second magistrate to deal with such cases is not enough,” the NGO said.

MaltaToday had reported in November that the conditions that led to the murder of Bernice Cassar are still present. Meanwhile, government had announced its new national strategy on gender-based violence (GBV) and domestic violence (DV). 

The MWL noted that the appointment of a second magistrate to handle domestic violence cases appears insufficient. The group added that the recently appointed magistrate, designated to support the domestic violence caseload, has no longer been handling these cases since September.

The MWL questioned the government's commitment to tackling gender-based violence and domestic violence despite the launch of its national strategy. 

Criticizing the lack of concrete action and implementation, the MWL urged authorities to move beyond “nicely worded policies” and ensure a suitable budget for effective execution. 

The MWL expressed skepticism regarding the introduction of electronic tagging and panic buttons, emphasizing that such measures were first mentioned over a decade ago. “Let’s hope that we won’t have to wait for another 10 years for its implementation.”

Addressing the disproportionate impact of gender-based violence on women and girls, the MWL demands the inclusion of the term "Violence Against Women (VAW)" in the government's narrative and any proposed legislation.

The MWL commends the efforts of NGOs tirelessly advocating for progress, highlighting the need for civil society to fine-tune an efficient system rather than having to demand basic measures from authorities.

“Violence Against Women is a dark stain on our society, and we demand immediate and adequate protection, as well as justice for all victims of this crime,” the MWL concluded.