Maltese people are less likely to report a domestic violence crime if the perpetrator was a woman and not a man, according to a fresh report by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency.
In a survey on crime, safety and victims’ rights, the FRA found that Maltese respondents are the least willing Europeans to take action by filing a police report, provide evidence in court or speak out when witnessing domestic violence crime.
From 1,004 face-to-face interviews conducted in Malta in 2019, just over a third (34%) were ready to intervene when witnessing a man hitting a woman. The figure dropped to around half, (17%) if respondents witnessed a woman hitting a man.
This contrasts with the EU average, in which 64% were willing to intervene if the victim was a woman and 44% if it was a man. Only Latvia scored lower than Malta, with 15% ready to intervene if they saw a woman hit a man and 45% if the perpetrator was a man.
Overall, Maltese people were more willing to report an environmental crime than they are to help a child being slapped or help a victim of intimate domestic abuse.
The survey also found that Maltese experienced the least amount of harassment in the EU bloc, together with Cyprus, Italy and Portugal. Each country had less than 5% of respondents say they experienced harassment in the last five years, while the Czech Republic, Estonia and Finland reported the most.
One in ten people in the EU were victims of physical violence in the last five years. In 2019, one in four Europeans were victims of harassment, with 22 million reported being physically attacked.
However, when it comes to reporting harassment, under a quarter (23%) of respondents in Malta reported to the police or an organisation, meaning the true figure of such violence is still largely unknown.
Reports of domestic violence have been on a constant rise since the beginning of the decade. In 2019, there was roughly 1,325 abuse reports filed in Malta, roughly four cases every single day.
In 2020 that record was beaten by 15%.
And when you consider that 85% of sexual assaults fly under the police’s radar, we’re just looking at the tip of the iceberg.
The FRA hopes report’s findings will help local legislators tighten laws to protect victims’ rights.
You can read the full report here.
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Photo: Fundamental Rights Agency