Malta Women's Lobby Acts as a national forum to discuss and highlight issues on women’s rights leading to concrete recommendations, conclusions and actions to ensure equality between women and men; Disseminates best practices in the field of women’s rights in order to guarantee equal opportunities; Contributes towards an improvement of national policy and strategy vis-à-vis women’s issues; Improves the co-operation between policy makers, NGO’s and others working in the field of women’s issues Informs, links and raises awareness, among women’s organisations, on European issues; Works directly with European institutions to ensure that women’s needs and perspectives become an equal and integral part of European policies; Keeps members updated on national and EU directives, regulations and legislation regarding women’s issues including gender budgeting and gender mainstreaming.

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Malta Women's Lobby - MWL

The MWL is a full member of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL)
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL

The Malta Women’s Lobby, together with the undersigned organisations, is beyond shocked at the manner in which a rape victim has been discredited and punished, after she had the courage to come forward and report her aggressor. This is nothing but a blow and an insult to all rape victims.

According to media reports, Judge Scerri Herrera ruled that the “rape victim's version was not credible” and that “because there were no eyewitnesses, the alleged rape victim's testimony could not be corroborated”. Should rape trauma experts have been consulted, perhaps they could have explained that research repeatedly shows that victims often make mistakes with regards to the timeline of events, precisely because such events are so traumatic. Additionally, since when are eyewitnesses a requirement in proving cases of rape?

The fact that the perpetrator’s confession was ruled inadmissible because it was “not in the correct format according to law” is laughable. What are we to understand from this, then? Were the officers who charged him incompetent in matters of procedure? Or, perhaps, was this a convenient “get out of jail” card, played to manipulate the system? Either way, the conclusion is that there is no safe space in Malta, not even a police station, where victims are expected to file reports and seek protection.

And while we’re at it, harassment, by definition, is always intimidating, and when the harasser is a police officer, an official who took an oath and made a personal commitment to serve, respect and protect human dignity, and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons, then the crime is all the more serious.

This judgement further confirms the deep-rooted, internalised misogyny that pervades our society, where victim blaming is the norm, and rapists are let off with the bare minimum, if at all. No wonder 85% of sex offences go unreported. The overwhelming outcome of this judgement is that rape victims are not to be believed, reinforcing the fact that the system, ultimately, punishes the victim, whilst emboldening perpetrators to continue raping women, fearing no consequence.

Regrettably, this is not an isolated case, but a symptom of the manner in which our institutions continue to fail women, whose reports are not taken seriously, who are judged because of how they look and what they wear, who they know, their relationships and a multitude of other double standards that do not apply to the rest of the population. This mentality, that continues to infest our culture, is what leads to femicides, cases of domestic violence, harassment and discrimination. Everything is linked.
Ultimately, women have been, and continue to be, let down by the institutions, who seem to champion conveniently flawed technicalities over empathy, expert counsel and the protection of victims.

It is clear that the police and the courts have failed. It is evident that there is no real effort to address the deficit that is more than apparent in the system. Both law enforcement officials and members of the judiciary are in urgent need of training in handling such cases, so that victims can be treated with the respect, empathy and dignity that they deserve. Furthermore, in order to avoid any miscarriage of justice it is imperative that the Minister of Justice ensures that there are no discrepancies between the Maltese and English version in the law on sexual harassment in Chapter 452 of the Laws of Malta - Employment and Industrial Relations Act.

Finally, the MWL demands an immediate and thorough review of the police force, the judicial system and other institutions. We are sick to our back teeth with systemic failures, flawed procedures, evident misogyny, victim blaming, blatant discrimination, lack of resources, and no accountability whatsoever.

The system is broken.
We’re fed up of the rhetoric.
It’s time for concrete action.

Malta Women’s Lobby
A4E (Association for Equality)
Moviment Graffiti
Mediating Women, Balancing the Media
Women for Women Foundation (Malta)
Women’s Rights Foundation
Malta Girl Guides
FIDEM Foundation
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL
Raise your voice
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL
To commemorate International Women's Day happening tomorrow the 8th of March, MWL today called a press conference to address what has happened since we launched the FEMIfesto last year.

The FEMIfesto was made up of 30 proposals covering various areas. Today, we addressed the concern that only 3 proposals had been tackled by the Government. Even though this is progress it is not enough, much more needs to be done!

Our Chairperson Anna Borg, & members Marceline Naudi & Louiselle Vassallo spoke about 3 topics; Violence Against Women, Women in the Media & Work Related Issues.

The updated FEMIfesto can be accessed via this link:
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL
When this happens, it's usually because the owner only shared it with a small group of people, changed who can see it or it's been deleted.
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL
'The women's lobby said on Saturday that the inquiry report into the femicide of Bernice Cassar confirmed that domestic violence was not a priority for the government.

The lobby insisted it was the responsibility of the state to ensure that adequate resources were made available for victims of domestic violence.

The state ‘system’, the lobby said, was not an abstract construct: it was a system run by individuals elected to serve.

"The lobby reiterates its stand that minimising responsibility and shifting the collective blame on 'the system' is tantamount to manipulation, with the objective of giving false assurances that someone, somewhere is shouldering responsibility.'
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL
Malta Women's Lobby - MWL

We’re up to our eyeballs with slick press conferences, fronted by politicians pledging to fix the system they themselves control. We demand action.

The Inquiry tasked with establishing whether the state failed femicide victim Bernice Cassar has concluded that “the state 'system' failed”, identifying a lack of resources and a heavy caseload as the primary reasons.

It is the responsibility of the state to ensure that adequate resources are made available for victims of domestic violence. The state ‘system’ is not an abstract construct - it is a system run by individuals elected to serve.

The MWL reiterates its stand that minimising responsibility and shifting the collective blame on “the system” is tantamount to manipulation, with the objective of giving false assurances that someone, somewhere is shouldering responsibility.

Ultimately, it is those individuals who failed to provide the much-needed resources who are responsible for the injustice faced by Bernice Cassar and her loved ones. It is all well and good for Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri and Justice Minister Jonathan Attard to repeat the usual clichés, that “we must do better”, promising to implement the right reforms and increase resources.

We’re up to our eyeballs with slick press conferences, fronted by politicians pledging to fix the system they themselves control. We demand action.

If the “state” was serious in giving victims of domestic violence the support that they need, then they would have implemented what they were promising over many years.

For example, the MWL would like to point out that in relation to the proposal of strengthening the DASH assessment through the involvement of a multidisciplinary team, this (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Meeting – MARAM) was already in the pipeline in 2018 but never materialised, despite tax money used on staff training. Back then, the authorities also promised to “appoint at least one Designated MARAM Officer (DMO), who should be a manager or person who has authority within their entity to prioritise actions that arise, be able to make a commitment of resources and share appropriate information”.

( This was part of a strategy and road map that never materialised, again highlighting that this issue is not being taken seriously.

Ministers Camilleri and Attard also announced that new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were also being drawn up. Might we remind both Ministers that these SOPs have been in the making for over five years ( and were due to come out in 2017. How many more victims need to die before the much-needed SOPs are put in place? Why this gross negligence?

As reported in the media, it is being recommended to move the Gender-Based and Domestic Violence Unit hub to Santa Luċija from the Floriana Depot and adding a unit in Msida. Whilst this is an improvement, it does not solve the problem for women fleeing a dangerous situation and who are not mobile. Police stations in localities need to be kept open to offer additional adequate support and protection to victims, at least, until they can access the specialised hub.

Malta needs at least 3 hubs, one in the North, in addition to the proposed Santa Lucia and Msida Hub. There should also be a hub in Gozo with highly trained officers to deal with such cases there. Can government make a serious commitment to put these much-needed hubs in place and tell us when this will happen?

The MWL demands that the full report and the conclusions to the report are published without any delay. There is absolutely no plausible reason as to why Minister Camilleri and Minister Attard are not making this information public, especially since the report was presented to them in January.

We didn’t need another Inquiry to tell us:

· That the DV unit is understaffed and under resourced

· That there is a massive backlog in court cases

· That entities like Aġenzija Appoġġ and Domestic Violence Services need better funding,

· That Temporary Protection Orders need to start being issued again

· That there is a general communication breakdown between relevant entities

· That the “system” is broken.

We already knew all this and have been demanding that the government improves things and take this issue seriously. What is worse is that victims are not being believed and perpetrators are not being held accountable and go on to violate and murder their victims with impunity.

The unpublished Inquiry report as well as the conclusions of this Inquiry only confirm what the NGOs have been pointing out for years: that this issue, which largely affects women, and can mean life or death, is clearly NOT a priority for the government.

Bernice Cassar did everything in her power, and more, to keep herself and her children safe. And yet, here we are again, lamenting that the “state system” failed her.

Enough with the rhetoric and the lack of transparency.

Enough with delaying tactics and hollow promises.

Victims of DV and their loved ones deserve better from the state.


Talk No 1 – Prostitution the Oldest Oppression – 14.4.2021

Talk No 2 – Women’s Bodies: Objectification and Sexualisation – 20.4.2021

Talk No 3 : Addressing the Myths about Prostitution – 27.4.2021

Talk No 4 : The Nordic Model – Talk on Prostitution and Trafficking – 5.5.2021

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