Just months after 16-year-olds were given the right to vote, the age of consent in Malta has been legally lowered to 16 after the third reading of the Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Bill in Parliament.
This puts Malta’s age of consent primarily in line with the rest of European countries, which generally range from 14 – 18 years of age. With the bill passing its third reading, all that remains is for the President of Malta to sign it into law.
The approved amendment was welcomed by Maltese youth groups like the Kunsill Nazzjonali taż-Żgħażagħ.
While praising the new legislation, KNZ called for a more holistic sexual health educational campaign, alongside increased investment in sexual health clinics and facilities, especially in Gozo, where a sexual health clinic is non-existent.
Prior to this new amendment, there were a few anomalies in Maltese sexual consent law. A 16-year-old was allowed to get married, but could then face a prison sentence if they had sex with someone under-18.
This amendment is seen as long overdue by some parts of the political sphere, with criminal lawyer Franco Debono having called for the lowering of the age of consent back when he was an MP in 2010.