Twenty-three per cent of Maltese women experience physical, sexual or violent abuse by the time they are 15 years old, a study found.

The finding of studies on domestic violence, presented by family studies lecturer Clarissa Sammut Scerri, were explained at a Commission for Domestic Violence conference. Over 31,800 women admitted to experiencing gender-based violence in 2014 in a study conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

One in every four Maltese women are victims of emotional, sexual or physical abuse from partners, Dr Sammut Scerri said.

The annual conference kicked off a 16-day campaign against domestic violence. Equality Minister Helena Dalli said amendments to the Gender-Based and Domestic Violence Act were ongoing. The amendments would see that the current law was in line with the Istanbul Convention.

Amendments give police the right to evict perpetrators of domestic violence

Since ratifying the convention in 2016, the government has needed to amend its Domestic Violence Act into one which it hoped would “strengthen the Commission and establish the basic principles against domestic violence”.

The amendments introduced emergency protection orders, giving the police the right to evict perpetrators of domestic violence.

A strategy on tackling gender-based violence, which is to be launched today, called for an intra-ministerial approach to tackling the issue, Dr Dalli said.

Family Minister Michael Falzon called for an end to the stigma on domestic abuse. Educators played an important role in teaching children to put a stop to discrimination against the victims, he said.

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