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Effective laws against all forms of violence - Full Implementation of the Istanbul Convention

CLOSED CONSULTATION  - Feedback Published

From: Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties​
​Published: ​17 September 2016
​Running till: 17 October 2016
​Last Updated: 5 December 2016


Feedback Published and Final Report
 Download the outcome report:
Feedback published:
​Type of Submission
No. of Submissions
National Institutions
Foundation for Social Welfare Services:
Commission on Domestic Violence:


1.      Development to Date
Malta ratified the Council of Europe Convention on prevention and combating of violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) on May 2014. This Convention obliges Member States to ensure that their national laws offer the adequate protection and remedies to victims of gender-based violence and domestic violence.
The introduction of the Istanbul Convention in Maltese law has resulted in the need to amend a number of provisions, in order to ensure that national legislation is in line with the Convention. To this end, an Interministerial Committee was set up in order to identify which provisions need to be amended, as well as how these should be improved. This Committee presented a set of vast legislative amendments in 2015.
Upon the said Commission’s recommendation, the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties embarked upon a legislative process in order to present one Bill which will:
-          Repeal and recast the Domestic Violence Act into the Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Act, in order to strengthen the Domestic Violence Commission and establish the basic principles against domestic violence; and
-          Amend a number of laws, including the Criminal Code, Civil Code and the Police Act, amongst others, to ensure that the crimes contemplated by the Convention are adequately reflected in national legislation and the appropriate remedy is given.
This legislative process was presented on the 8th March 2016, Women’s Day, during a press conference organised by the same Ministry.
On 17 September 2016, Minister Helena Dalli presented the draft Bill on Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence during a public seminar. This Bill is now also open for a round of public consultation.
2.      This Bill
This Bill, developed by the directorate for human rights and integration within the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, together with experts in the field, meets and exceeds the requirements of the Istanbul Convention.
In a nutshell, this Bill:
-          Strengthens the Commission on Domestic Violence by widening its remit to cover all gender-based violence, as well as domestic violence;
-          Amends definitions which are crucial to the area of gender-based violence and domestic violence, such as the terms ‘domestic violence’ and ‘victim’, amongst others, in order to be in line with the definitions established by the Istanbul Convention;
-          Revises the punishments for crimes relevant to this area which are found in the Criminal Code, including, amongst others, rape, abduction, trafficking, prostitution with violence, defilement of minors, threats and harassment;
-          Amends the terminology of the provisions relating to sexual offences to better reflect the realities of the said offences. These offences include rape, forced marriage, abduction with intent to marry, unlawful sexual activities and threats, amongst others;
-          Introduces emergency protection orders which give the Police the right to evict the perpetrator from the residence in cases where the Police believe that the victim of domestic violence is in imminent danger should the perpetrator remain in the same residence;
-          Amends the provisions on excusable wilful homicide in order to remove the defence of the honour of the family, custom and religion;
-          Amends the provisions relating to credibility of witnesses to ensure that the sexual history and conduct of witnesses does not affect that witness’ credibility’
-          Amends the provisions on the Police’s power to institute proceedings ex officio without the complaint of the injured party in cases relating to rape and abduction;
-          Amends the provisions relating to mandatory mediation in the Family Courts, to ensure that in cases with a history of domestic violence, such mediation shall not apply;
-          Amends the provisions relating to the care and custody of children in cases of domestic violence.   
3.      Consultation Questions
The Government is asking the general public to reflect on the proposed Bill and provide input as follows:
a)      Where there is an issue with a specific Article in the Bill, a direct reference to the article in question is made, and comments about what needs to be added or removed are presented as brief and direct as possible.
It will be appreciated if alternative formulations, additions, subtractions, etc., to ensure a correct understanding and the best reflection of the proposal/s being made.
b)     Where there is an issue that the Bill is silent or is too generic about, the concern should first be explained and ideally formulated in terms of a concrete proposal.
c)      General comments of support or concern will also be considered and appreciated.  
4.      Consultation Documents

Bill for the Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Act

Consultation Document - EN - GBV.pdf


Please be informed that submissions will be published on the webpage of this consultation at the end of the scoping phase. The lead Ministry has sole discretion upon the publication of comments.
Received contributions, together with the identity of the contributor, will be published on the Internet, unless the contributor objects to the publication of his/her personal data on the grounds that such publication would harm his/her legitimate interests. In this case the contribution may be published in anonymous form. Otherwise the contribution will not be published nor will, in principle, its content be taken into account.  Any objections concerning the publication of personal data should be sent to the service responsible for the consultation on the following email address:
Data Protection Statement Data Protection Act (Chapter 440)
The Data Protection Act, 2001 regulates the processing of personal data whether held electronically or in manual form. The Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties collects only information which is necessary for it to perform its intended functions and is set to fully comply with the Data Protection Principles as set out in the Act.  Verification of the ID number provided will take place as deemed necessary. All personal data provided will be processed according to the Data Protection Act (Cap 440).
In addition, please be aware of:
·         Disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (Chapter 496)
As we are a public authority all documents we hold, including documents related to this public consultation process, may be released following a request to us under the Freedom of Information Act (Chap. 496), unless such request may be subject of an exemption arising from the same Act.


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Press Release Number 172508, Issued on 8 November, 2017 by the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality - Gender-based violence and domestic violence bill passes to second reading