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Maltese MP Votes Against Domestic & Gender Based Violence Bill

[La Valletta, Malta, 24 January 2018] On January 24th, the Maltese parliament voted to pass the Gender Based Violence and Domestic Violence Bill No. 14. The Malta Confederation of Women’s Organisations (MCWO) has strongly welcomed this initiative as a step ahead in the prevention of violence against women and girls and the protection of their victims. MCWO has also reacted to criticise the only MP who voted against the adoption of this bill.

The purpose of the Gender Based Violence and Domestic Violence Bill No. 14 is to fully integrate the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, the Istanbul Convention into Maltese law which Malta ratified in November 2014. The Maltese government was in fact the incumbent presidency of the Council of the European Union when the EU signed the Istanbul Convention in June 2017. The bill would also repeal and recast the Domestic Violence Act as the Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Act, ensuring a holistic approach in providing protections to victims of violence and the prosecution of perpetrators. You can find out more about the conditions of the bill here

Though the bill is aimed at ensuring that all domestic violence complaints are processed in the same coordinated manner within the judicial process and repealing and recasting the Domestic Violence Act as the Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Act there are clear limitations. The transposition of the bill into Maltese legislation does not focus on women but rather “gender”; this gender-neutral perspective contradicts the focus of the Istanbul Convention which recognises that domestic violence disproportionately effects women and remains the most critical violation of women’s human rights in Europe.

The bill passed almost unanimously with nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo being the only MP to vote against the adoption. Our EWL members, the Malta Confederation of Women’s Organisations (MCWO) strongly condemned the actions of MP Vassallo, highlighting that one in four women in Malta suffer from some form of violence. Ms Lorraine Spiteri, Chairperson of the Malta Confederation of Women’s Organisations stated, “It’s hard to understand why any Member of Parliament would vote against giving protection and care to victims of domestic violence and rape.”
You can read the full press release of the MCWO below and see the media coverage of the press release via the following links

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2018-01-26/local-news/Women-s-confederation-head-slams-Edwin-Vassallo-for-vote-against-violence-bill-6736184096

https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20180126/local/womens-confederation-hits-out-at-edwin-vassallo.668956

Malta Confederation of Women’s Organisations (MCWO) Press release “Opposing the Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Bill”

One in every 4 Maltese women suffer some form of violence. Shame that MP Edwin Vassallo voted against giving more rights and protection to vulnerable people when he was the only MP voting against the domestic and gender-based violence Bill last Wednesday 24 January 2018.

Ms Lorraine Spiteri, Chairperson of the Malta Confederation of Women’s Organisations (MCWO) said “This Bill is not just about giving rights to women....families, children, partners and whole communities are affected by this terrible scourge in our society. It’s hard to understand why any Member of Parliament would vote against giving protection and care to victims of domestic violence and rape. While making a claim that he is against any form of violence, voting against this Bill gives the message that Vassallo is in favour of domestic and gender-based violence. What kind of family values does he hold?”

The Confederation calls for more sensitivity and awareness on gender-related concepts by our representatives in Parliament.

The MCWO is an umbrella organisation that represents 12 local member organisations which collectively have around 24,000 female members. The Confederation is a full member of the Brussels-based European Women’s Lobby."

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Loud and United to end violence against women and girls, European Women’s Lobby Conference, 6 December 2017, Brussels.

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