Reports on hate crimes in Malta have more than quadrupled in the first week of June when compared to the same week in May, new figures reveal, with more cases being reported in the first week of June than the entire previous month.
While seven cases had been reported in the first week of May, 31 were reported in the first week of June, the Times of Malta reported.
By the 10th of June, 78 cases of hate crime had been called in – nearly eight times what had been reported in the first half of May.
The spike in reports comes as Malta – as well as many countries around the world – grapple with the realities of discrimination in modern society.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of a US police officer, as well as the murder of Lassana Cisse in Malta, led to fierce online debate throughout the month, as well as a well-attended sit-down protest in Valletta.
The recent political issue of over 420 migrants kept aboard Captain Morgan vessels in the middle of the sea had also added to tensions in society.
In the wake of all these painful events, a new awareness over how black people are treated in society has reached new segments of the population, which may be contributing to more incidents being reported.
More and more outspoken individuals and celebrities may also encourage people to flag abuses that they might not have before.
Indeed, some recent high profile cases made it to the Hate Crime and Speech Unit, letting more people know about them and how to reach the unit.
When should you file a hate crime report?
If you witness a case of potential hate crime, reach out to the unit and file a report before posting about it online – you don’t want the tip of the offender to delete or get rid of any evidence they might have.
Reports can be made over any form of speech or action that discriminates against someone purely based on their skin colour, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, politics or gender. These categories can be found in Article 82A, Chapter Nine of Malta’s Criminal Code.
In order to file a report against online hate speech with a formal criminal complaint, it must include a screenshot of the post or comment; the URL link of the alleged offender’s profile and a screenshot of their profile and the URL link of where the post and comment were originally published.