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Press Release by the Ministry for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights and the Ministry for Justice, Equality and Governance: laws which continue to protect minors- the period of prescription increases

28.06.2021 | Press Releases

Reference Number: PR211232

In the coming weeks a reform amending legislation pertaining to sex crimes shall come into force. This was announced by Minister Michael Falzon together with Minister Zammit Lewis during a press conference. They announced various amendments, namely: 

  • A change in prescription so that when a person who has suffered abuse while underage, can now report said crime up to twenty years after it was committed. Therefore the prescription period commences from the moment the victim turns twenty-three (23) years old. 
  • Clarifications in the Criminal Code with regards to sex crimes as well as important amendments in procedure of Juvenile Court. 
  • There shall also be changes in cases of abduction or kidnapping of minors including situations where a parent or another person leaves the country with a child without the consent of the other person having custody of the child. 
  • Anyone leaving the country or keeping minors away from Malta and breaking Maltese court orders or other protection orders issued by competent authorities will be punishable for a maximum of thirteen (13) years of imprisonment. 
  • In the case of a report of sexual activity between a person and an animal, the crime of animal abuse shall be introduced in the Animal Welfare Act. 

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Governance Edward Zammit Lewis explained the importance of these amendments and how they allow the Courts a degree of discretion. The Minister emphasised the importance of these amendments for society in view of real occurrences. “I shall repeat how these amendments to be proposed in parliament shall continue to protect minors who just like older persons and other vulnerable people, are at the core of our work as a government- this is truly a Government for the people.” 

The Minister for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights, Michael Falzon stated that these legal amendments shall continue to give a voice and more rights to minors. He added that these proposals followed a broad consultation with all those working in the area of minors and child protection.