National frameworks to address hate crime in Malta

This page provides information on the national frameworks to address hate crime in Malta. The information provided here should be viewed alongside data presented on Malta's hate crime report page.

Hate crime recording and data collection

Reports of hate crime are recorded through the reporting system maintained by the police, which records the number of offences registered. Since 2019, the system (NPS – National Police System) was adapted to allow for the classification of hate crime. This system records information based on the gravest offence of the incident report. It also provides the possibility to record the element of hate present in a particular incident when filing a report.

Data on the prosecution of hate crimes is available based on the charges brought forward within the judicial system. Therefore, as the bias motivation is covered through aggravating clauses and motivational grounds, this is not recorded for statistical purposes and the information is not available.

The current collection system used by the national judicial authorities does not include information on the aggravating circumstances of convicted offences.

Malta does not conduct national victimization surveys related to hate crime.

Hate crime victim support

Malta provides specialized support to victims of hate crimes.

Malta's Police Force has a general Victim Support Unit that provides aid to crime victims. It is additionally supported by a multidisciplinary Hate Crime and Speech Unit, consisting of specialists in the fields of psychology, social work and legal aid, which specifically caters to the needs of hate crime victims. The offered services include a physical venue for in-person consultations, online services, dedicated helplines, and legal aid throughout the criminal proceedings, as well as specialized support, including psychological counselling. The Unit has a therapeutic team, consisting of four specialists with a background in psychology and social well-being.

Individual needs assessments (INAs) are conducted by police, and victims of crime are referred to the Victim Support Unit. If they consent, victims of hate crime may also be referred to the Hate Crime and Speech Unit. The Unit conducts a further needs assessment and comes up with a six-month plan, which is subject to review. The assessment specifies whether victims need to be referred to other support providers. Victims of hate crime can access support services without filing a formal complaint. Emotional and psychological support is normally extended until the court proceedings are finalized. Interpretation is available during counselling sessions and court proceedings. The Hate Crime and Speech Unit also accepts referrals from other governmental agencies and civil society organizations.

In 2021, a Victim Support Agency (VSA) was established through Legal Notice 418 of 2020 as a multidisciplinary agency made up of public servants, including members of the Police Victim Support Unit, legal and psychosocial professionals, and administrative officers. The VSA is entrusted to support and assist victims of crime, including victims of hate crime. Victims may access the VSA's services through various mechanisms. A national free-of-charge victim support line was introduced (116 006) to provide immediate support to victims of crime. Its operators can provide referrals to professional support services.

Police are trained on hate crime and follow relevant internal guidelines. Victims are encouraged to file an evaluation form related to the service they receive.

Hate crime capacity building

Police officers receive training on hate crimes as part of their mandatory in-service period. Information on hate crimes is also a part of mandatory training for the new recruits. This training is offered by the Academy for Disciplined Forces, following the implementation of ODIHR's Training against Hate Crimes for Law Enforcement (TAHCLE) programme. The Human Rights Directorate's SOGIGESC Unit also plays a role in periodically delivering training sessions within the Academy. Additionally, the Malta Police Force benefits from training provided by European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (EUROPOL) and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), both of which deliver programmes on hate crime.