According to numbers recorded by the law courts, about 300 domestic abuse cases are currently pending before one magistrate that is assigned to them.
Abuse survivors may have to wait up to a year for their claims to be heard in court, leaving them exposed to additional abuse.
Magistrate Lara Lanfranco has ruled 162 cases since July 2021, with 278 cases still pending.
Over and above her own caseload, the magistrate, who has been regarded as “hardworking” and “exemplary” by many, has inherited cases from another magistrate. The increased workload is causing significant delays.
“One of the main challenges for domestic abuse survivors is waiting for justice.” – Marceline Naudi, a senior lecturer at the University of Malta’s Faculty for Social Well-being.
She claims that the time between a woman getting the courage to file a police report and the time the perpetrator is charged in court is far too long. The court case is extremely lengthy, which means the process might take years while the abusers continue to result in violence and harassment.