The Maltese are among the Europeans least willing to intervene when witnessing domestic violence, according to a new report.

They are more willing to intervene in environmental crime than they are to help a child being hit by their parents or to help a victim of intimate-partner violence.

The data was published on Friday in a report by the EU’s agency for fundamental rights, called Crime, Safety and Victims’ Rights. Over the span of 12 months, one in four Europeans were victims of harassment and 22 million were physically attacked.

The Malta findings were extracted from 1,004 face-to-face interviews between January 18 and July 28 of 2019.

Just over a third of respondents in Malta were willing or very willing to intervene when witnessing a man hitting a female partner.

Fewer, 17 per cent, would take action when the perpetrator of the physical violence between partners is female and the victim is male.

Only Latvia had a lower score – 15 per cent would intervene if they saw a woman hit a man but, on the other hand, 45 per cent would be willing to take action if the perpetrator was a man.

The EU average stood at 64 per cent if the victim was a woman and 44 per cent if it was a man.

Meanwhile, data about how many are very willing to intervene in different situations shows that 19 per cent of Maltese respondents would act if they witnessed a crime against the environment.

Only 15 per cent are very willing to help a child whose parents are hitting them, and 10 per cent to help a victim of intimate partner violence. 

Across the EU, nearly 20 per cent were very willing to intervene in all three scenarios.

The report shows that in countries like Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta people prefer having the police address the situation to direct personal intervention.

Photo: FRAPhoto: FRA

Low violence and harassment in Malta

The survey also showed that the Maltese were among the Europeans who have least experienced physical violence and harassment.

One in 10 people in the EU experienced physical violence in the five years prior to the survey.

Cyprus, Italy, Malta and Portugal had the lowest rates, at under five per cent, while the highest, over 15 per cent, are in Czechia, Estonia and Finland.

The extent of harassment experiences also varies greatly between the countries. 

The 12-month rates of harassment ranged from one in 10 in Hungary, Cyprus, Italy and Malta to nearly one in two in France, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

When it comes to reporting harassment, in Cyprus, 31 per cent of incidents in the previous five years were reported to the police or other authorities, followed by 23 per cent reported in each for Belgium, Ireland and Malta. 

Malta was also on the low end for burglary.

About eight per cent of people in the EU had experienced a burglary in the five years before the survey while the figure was under five per cent in Poland, Romania, Malta and Portugal.

FRA hopes its report will guide national policymakers as they deliver on their international commitments and the EU’s victims’ rights laws.

It warned that crime victims do not typically report their experiences and they often have difficulties accessing their rights and may feel voiceless.

Photo: FRAPhoto: FRA

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us