There were over 1,300 reported cases of domestic violence in Malta in 2019, official figures show, with the issue firmly under the national microscope once again.
Following a parliamentary question from Claudette Buttigieg, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri revealed that there were 1,325 reported cases in 2019, slightly less than the 1,341 recorded in 2018.
To put things into perspective, that’s roughly four cases every single day.
The current figures do not make a distinction between gender, but previous parliamentary questions have revealed that men make up the overwhelming majority of alleged perpetrators of domestic violence, accounting for close to 80% of all cases.
Domestic violence was thrust to the forefront of national debate after a 34-year-old mother of two died following a brutal knife attack by her former partner, who has since pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Malta’s rates of domestic violence have been on an upward trend since 2010. A previous parliamentary showed that the number of domestic violence cases has more than doubled from 2010 (659 cases).
Laws have become more robust. However, the rate of conviction remains worryingly low. In the first nine months of 2019, just 12 people were found guilty and sent to prison for the crime.
Unfortunately, the government does not keep a detailed system showing how many of these reported cases ever make it court. However, the number of convictions means this number must be relatively low.
The figures, while alarmingly high, fail to paint a full picture, with a significant number of cases going unreported, particularly in a Maltese society where abuse often takes place within tight-knit communities and is in some cases amongst relatives.