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New services for victims of sexual assault unveiled

Photo: Reuben Piscopo, DOI

Photo: Reuben Piscopo, DOI

Support and services for victims of sexual assault are to start being provided by a response team to be set up within Mater Dei Hospital, Nationalist Party whip David Aguis said this morning.

Opening a seminar on domestic violence, organised by the Commission on Domestic Violence, Mr Agius said the service is also intended to help bring perpetrators to justice.

He said the government and the commission were working on a bill to amend criminal law to include the specific crime of female genital mutilation.

This is being recognised worldwide as a harmful traditional practice that affects millions of girls.

They are also working on the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.

The convention introduces new crimes to Maltese law, including forced sterilisation, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, lawyer Roberta Avellino said.

The convention, signed by 23 countries, was signed by Malta in May. It will come into force when it has been ratified by at least 10 countries.

The commission criminalises various forms of violence and ensures that prevention, protection, prosecution and monitoring measures are put in place.

This morning’s seminar will also serve as a launching pad for Malta’s action plan on combating domestic violence.

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