The Malta Gay Rights Movement and aditus strongly condemn the act of violence that took place in Hamrun against two young women on Friday 13th January as reported in the Sunday Times and would like to express their solidarity with the victims and their families.
In many countries, such an assault would be investigated as a hate crime but Malta has yet to extend hate crime legislation to include the grounds of homophobia and transphobia.
Violence on lesbian, gay and trans people is not an uncommon occurrence although most incidents do not get reported to the police or featured in newspapers. Trust in the police force is an essential factor in encouraging and enabling LGBT victims to come forward and report such crimes. For this reason, how the police react to this assault, also has an effect on the reporting of other similar incidents. We therefore hope that charges will be brought against the perpetrators and that the assault is treated with the seriousness it deserves.
We would also like to express our concern with regards to allegations made by the mother of the victim with regards to the difficulties and harassment experienced by the daughter in school when her sexual orientation became known, particularly as this seems to have involved inappropriate behaviour by teachers. We urge the Department of Educational Services to investigate such claims and reiterate once again the need to introduce clear policies and guidelines that protect LGBT students and staff from harassment and discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Those LGBT people who have experienced similar incidents or require support are encouraged to contact MGRM on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the National Gay Helpline: on 9925 5559.
Gabi Calleja, coordinator of the MGRM stated: “This is a shocking act of violence that continues to affirm the dangers that the LGBT community faces in coming out.”
Neil Falzon, from aditus, added: “We’re further concerned at the girl’s current safety and hope that she is offered adequate protection from revictimisation, including during any criminal investigations and court proceedings.”