Malta’s most prominent LGBT+ lobby group has called for a change in hate crime laws after it was unable to report a crime on behalf of its victim.
“This morning we attempted to file a police report on behalf of the trans community with respect to the messages currently circulating on Facebook. We do not feel that this type of harassment was intended towards an individual but at at the whole community,” MGRM said in a statement.
“Like all other times that we tried to file a report of this kind, our attempt was rejected.”
MGRM are proposing that NGOs that protect vulnerable groups be allowed to file police reports on behalf of the victim, who might not report it for a variety of reasons.
As the law stands, only the victim of a crime can report it to the police, but MGRM argue that once a crime is committed in a public space – including the internet – then police should still be prosecuting the criminal to the full extent of the law, regardless if the victim reported it or not.
“The police insist that no one but the victim can report an incident, even though the messages are now in the public domain. This is not sufficient and this lack of willingness to enforce laws puts to shame all the work done on those very laws intended to protect minorities,” they said.
Their proposal comes after a transgender woman today shared hate mail that she had received, which included threats of rape and other disparaging comments. When commentators told her to report the hate speech to the police, she said she wasn’t interested in doing so as the comments didn’t get under her skin and she had just “laughed” them away before going about her day.
MGRM have since stated that anyone that is a victim of a hate crime can contact them and they will send personnel to accompany the victim to the police station to file a report.