Why this story matters:
This year, The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) published the third edition of the Gender Equality Index, which assesses how far the EU Member States are from achieving full gender equality. Countries receive between 1 and 100 points (with 100 meaning that the equality is reached) on the basis of various factors. One of them is the prevalence of gender-based violence.
Maltese media noted that with 46.8 points the country scored better than the EU average. However, Malta's performance was alarming in several dimensions -- for example the amount of victims of human trafficking and stalking. Another cause for concern is that the victims do not receive sufficient help when dealing with health consequences of the violence. What’s more, when it comes to femicide, Malta and Slovenia were the only two countries where the perpetrators were all intimate partners.
Following the news, the Equality Minister, Helena Dalli, launched a strategy against this kind of violence. In a speech delivered at the opening of a pan-European awareness campaign titled “Love Does Not Hurt - 16 Days of Activism”, she promised legislative amendments to ensure that the current law is in line with the Istanbul Convention, which deals with gender-based violence.
Let’s hope that actions will soon follow because even if Malta scored above the EU average in the EIGE’s ranking, the prevalence of gender-based violence is by no means average.
Details from the story:
- A 2014 study, conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, found that 23% of Maltese women experience physical or sexual violence by the time they turn 15 years old.
- In the same study, over 31,800 women admitted that they experienced gender-based violence.
- “One in four Maltese women is a victim of emotional, sexual or physical abuse inflicted by a partner,” claimed Dr Clarissa Sammut Scerri, a psychologist who specializes in family therapy.
- Malta has ratified the Istanbul convention but amendments to its Domestic Violence Act are still underway.