Malta ratifies Istanbul Convention with Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Act and enshrines the key principles into policy with Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence Action Plan

di People for Change Foundation

In 2018, the Gender-based Violence and Domestic Violence Act  was enacted, which aims to ensure that adequate protection is available to victims of gender based violence, and to ensure adequate punishment for perpetrators. The Act is the national effort to implement the Istanbul Convention   into  law, which focuses on the prevention of gender-based violence, the protection of victims, the prosecution of perpetrators and the need for integrated policies to combat gender-based violence. With regard to the protection of female migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, the Istanbul Convention highlights that this group is particularly vulnerable and highlights the need for residence permits to be issued for female victims of domestic violence. Notably, the Gender-based Violence and Domestic Violence Act makes no specific reference to victims of human trafficking.

Trafficking is however mentioned as part of the Gender-based Violence and Domestic Violence Strategy and Action Plan  which was produced in 2017 prior to the coming into force of the law. The policy document presents a series of actions which focus on the four pillars of the Istanbul Convention; prevention of gender-based violence and domestic violence, protection of victims and witnesses, prosecution and integrated policies. The Strategy mentions women as a vulnerable target group for policy, although not in the context of human trafficking. The Action Plan addresses human trafficking under the section of “Awareness raising”; ‘Raising awareness on the trafficking of human persons’ through ‘Awareness-raising campaigns to address the risk factors in relation to human trafficking’.

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