Almost half of the Maltese people believe women “often make up or exaggerate” claims of abuse or rape, according to a report by the EU fundamental rights agency.

According to data compiled by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) from Eurobarometer surveys, about two in five respondents (47 per cent) agreed with the statement that women were likely to make up or exaggerate such claims.

The report also found that Malta was one of three countries, along with Latvia and Lithuania, with the highest percentage of respondents who felt that violence against women was “often provoked by the victim”. Forty per cent of respondents believed so.

Court protection is limited to divorce and separation cases

As part of the study, men and women were asked about their opinions, perceptions and awareness on domestic violence as well as about the appropriate legal responses to different forms of gender-based violence.

The report also found that while court orders to protect victims from repeat victimisation are available in all member states, in Malta, court protection is “limited to divorce and separation cases”.

Malta is among 12 member states that do not have barring orders providing victims with immediate protection against domestic violence.

Despite the Istanbul Convention, which protects women against violence, having been ratified five years ago, only 15 member states adopted relevant legislation enabling the police to act swiftly, the agency noted in the report.