As the UK plans to bump the presence of undercover police in clubs and bars, questions arise as to whether Malta could follow suit to crackdown on sexual violence.
Following the shocking murder of Sarah Everard, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled new measures to protect women from sexual harassment.
It includes increasing undercover police patrols, particularly at closing hours, to identify predatory and suspicious offenders. A £45 million fund for better lighting and CCTV will also be introduced to deter abuse.
This comes after the shocking killing of 33-year-old Everard, who had gone missing last week en route home to Clapham, London. Her remains were then found in Kent, while a Met officer was arrested with links to her murder.
Her death sent shockwaves throughout the world, reigniting a conversation about sexual violence in public spaces.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people in Malta shared their own stories of sexual abuse in clubs on the island with Lovin Malta.
What is clear among respondents is that clubs and bars are a hotspot for harassment – from groping, rape, cat-calling, stalking and affects people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.
Although the issue of sexual assault is abhorrently widespread, few victims report to the police. Out of the hundreds of respondents, one survivor did turn to authorities for help after she was assaulted in a Paceville club. However, no action was taken because the perpetrator had gotten away and the club said their CCTV system wasn’t working.
Malta could look at the UK’s scheme as a model to stamp out the prevalent issue of assault on nights out and offer victims better chances of justice. Meanwhile, time-bars on sexual crimes in Malta could be removed to empower victims to come forward.
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