The Malta Independent 7 June 2023, Wednesday
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People will soon be able to check if their partner has been found guilty of domestic violence

Wednesday, 29 March 2023, 14:59 Last update: about 3 months ago

People will soon be able to check if their romantic partner has been found guilty of domestic violence, as the second reading of a new Bill is set to be debated in Parliament in the coming days.

In a statement, the Home Affairs Ministry and Equality Parliamentary Secretariat said that the law aims to help individuals who may be at risk of domestic violence and provide the necessary support to break the cycle of violence.

Once passed through all parliamentary stages, this draft law will provide the possibility for persons who are in an intimate relationship to apply to the Victim Support Agency within the Police Force to check whether their partner has been found guilty of domestic violence in the past.

The system will only show convictions of domestic violence where a person has been found guilty, and not allegations or cases that are still pending in court.

To ensure data protection, the police will verify that the applicant has a right to access the information by ensuring that they meet specific criteria.

A response will be provided within ten days, and if necessary, a domestic violence risk warning will be issued, while the person at risk will be given the necessary support.

When a domestic violence warning is issued, the police will communicate and explain the reasons why there may be a potential risk of domestic violence. Professionals within the Victim Support Agency will provide information about available support services, the ministry explained.

“This law is an electoral commitment aimed at reducing the risk to persons who may become victims of violence,” the statement read.

The statement continues that the proposed draft law is an important step in several initiatives that the government has taken over the years to strengthen the fight against the “social scourge” of domestic violence.

These include the creation of a specialized section within the Police Force, free legal aid for victims of domestic violence, the appointment of a full-time Commissioner for Domestic Violence and of a magistrate dedicated to cases of domestic violence.

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