Malta’s sex offenders register is too difficult to access, rendering it ineffective and unable to fulfill its aim, the Lisa Maria Foundation has said while urging Parliament to enact legal changes to address the matter.
The foundation – which was set up to safeguard children and youngsters from harm following the tragic death of Lisa Maria Zahra in 2014 – said in a statement it was renewing its appeal for all institutions employing people who have a duty of care towards children to have easier access to the sex offenders register.
It added that the setting up of the register was necessary in order to protect law-abiding citizens from predators.
“However, it is rather challenging to access, making it too onerous, costly and cumbersome for most stakeholders to utilise when carrying out due diligence before employment,” the foundation said.
It pointed out that the list was managed by the registrar of the Civil Courts and that for an organisation or employer to check whether a person’s name features on the register, they must therefore file an application before the First Hall of the Civil Court through their lawyer.
“The application is sent to the Attorney General who has to reply to the request. Subsequently a duge decides whether permission should be granted to the Court Registrar to check the register for the names submitted and to inform the applicants of the outcome of the search. This lengthy process is inefficient, especially when the recruitment of an individual needs to be confirmed at short notice,” the foundation said.
It called on authorities to change the law in order to safeguard the interests of children and young people, in order for their protection to remain a top priority.
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