Malta signed the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention. Malta thus joins 18 other countries who have already become signatories.
Malta, through the Commission on Domestic Violence, participated actively in the drafting of this Convention, together with the other Council of Europe Member States. The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence is the first international Convention, which creates a comprehensive legal framework and approach to combat violence against women. The Convention applies to all forms of violence against women, and domestic violence and is aimed at preventing violence, protecting victims and prosecuting the perpetrators. The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted this Convention on the 7th of April 2011, which opened for signature on the 11th of May 2011 in Istanbul. The Convention will enter into force following 10 ratifications.
The main aim of this Convention is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and domestic violence through prevention, protection and prosecution. The Convention also establishes a comprehensive framework based on policies and various measures to protect and assist all victims of violence against women and domestic violence. It is about people who are suffering through having experienced, or still experiencing, violence. It tackles not only the direct services and the training for professionals in the field but also the core of the issue. The Convention therefore also promotes substantive equality between women and men and international cooperation whilst providing support to organizations and law enforcement agencies to be able to cooperate within an integrated approach against violence against women and domestic violence.
Malta’s signature of this Convention signifies a milestone in government’s zero tolerance approach to violence against women and domestic violence and its commitment to the eradication of domestic violence. The Ministry of Justice, Dialogue and the Family is now working towards the ratification of the said Convention with the full collaboration of the Commission on Domestic Violence.
Labour Party's spokesperson for gender equality Helena Dalli said that it was a Labour government in 1998 which presented the white paper on domestic violence, when - years later - a draft law was presented, although based on Labour’s white paper, it was a watered down version.