Malta: opposition leader faces domestic violence allegations

Women's NGOs call on Malta to take allegations of domestic violence against a powerful politician seriously. Meanwhile, other politicians are trying to wait out the crisis.

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Malta
Malta: opposition leader faces domestic violence allegations - NewsMavens
Adrian Delia, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The opposition Nationalist Party (a conservative party in Malta) elected a new leader following an electoral defeat in 2017. Now Adrian Delia, who likes to blame the country's problems on immigrants and whose alleged links to Maltese-owned brothels in Soho and money laundering schemes are being investigated by the police, is once again being challenged on multiple fronts as his private messages were leaked and his wife is accusing him of domestic violence.

The Malta Confederation of Women’s Organizations, a member of the European Women's Lobby, called for serious action against domestic violence “regardless of those involved.” The women's lobby group also decried the dominant patriarchal culture.  

Meanwhile, politicians on both sides of the spectrum want to wait for the police or the court to reach a decision before commenting.

NewsMavens has previously reported on the numerous cases when Malta's newspapers have trivialized or downplayed domestic violence. Malta's women's NGOs have also protested last year over what they see as the inaction of the authorities in the face of domestic violence. A senior government official accused the NGOs, without reasonable grounds, of rolling in government funds while spending their time campaigning rather than helping victims. According to reports, almost a quarter of Maltese women experience violence by the age of 15.

Details from the story:

  • Nickie Vella de Fremeaux, wife of Adrian Delia, has accused him of domestic violence. This happened in the context of a child custody spat.
  • Private messages have also leaked from Delia's phone and been widely circulated.
  • While various business partners and friends stepped forward in defense of Delia, a few Nationalist Party members anonymously told Lovin Malta that Delia should step down without waiting for the European Parliament election in May.
  • PN deputy leader Robert Arrigo told Lovin Malta that the allegations were a private matter, and that many things happened since last year's commitment to consider domestic violence a public matter.
  • Even Domestic Violence Commissioner Simone Cini chose not to comment.
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