“Although more victims of domestic violence are coming forward to report, and although we’re providing more services, there are still a lot of women who are too scared to file a report, or who withdraw their report. The last thing these women want is a society that remains silent, passive and forgetful. We want to be the voice of these victims who are suffering behind closed doors.” Prime Minister Robert Abela made this declaration as he was speaking during a Parliamentary debate on the introduction of femicide in Malta’s Criminal Code.
The Prime Minister said that these reforms stem from the need to act on what is happening in our society. “We cannot turn a blind eye to these realities. It is only in this way that we truly represent our people. Only in this way do we truly address the realities of the people,” said the Prime Minister.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to these realities.” – PM Robert Abela
What will change?
Article 211A of the Criminal Code will be amended to restrict judges from mitigating punishment for people found guilty of a murder with a femicidal element.
Moreover, homicide with femicidal characteristics will be excluded from qualifying as an excusable homicide in a crime of passion situation.
These amendments will also apply in cases of attempted murder.
Prime Minister Abela said that while no one can guarantee the end of femicides, “we’re doing everything in our power to fight these horrible realities. Because we’re here to carry out the reforms.”
A strong signal by the legislator
He reiterated that the Maltese society has to send a strong message in favour of the protection of all human beings.
Referring to critics of the amendments, particularly people who argue that there should be no distinction as the lives of women and men should be protected equally, the Prime Minister said that he agreed that all lives have the same value.
However, he added, everyone is aware that in many cases we have seen, the woman was in a more vulnerable position. This was confirmed in a number of reports which show that our society is still too patriarchal and based on gender stereotyping.
Prime Minister Abela said that through these amendments, the message is clear – that the legislator has a heart and will not turn a blind eye to people’s sufferings.
“Above all, we have shown the courage to bring about change where necessary. A bold change which brings hope to people who are suffering and are too afraid to seek assistance.”
“Today’s message to victims is clear. We have your back. Go ahead and seek assistance, before it’s too late,” said Prime Minister Abela.