Police need better training on domestic violence, Minister insists

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The police need training to better handle domestic violence reports they receive, Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said in Parliament today.

The minister was answering a parliamentary question from Nationalist MP Karol Aquilina when government whip Glenn Bedingfield made a follow-up question in which he referred to the murder of 34-year-old woman Chantelle Chetcuti, who was stabbed repeatedly by her former partner last night. He also referred to a protest that is being held in Valletta this evening in reaction to the murder, calling for the government to do more to prevent violence against women.

Zammit Lewis said that one need not state that it was unacceptable for a woman to be killed for leaving an abusive relationship, but said that the issue was not one of improper laws, but one of deep-seated mentalities.

He then argued that the police – being the ones who handled domestic violence report – needed more training to better handle such incidents, and also said that there was the need to train psychologists and increase the number of people dealing with such cases.

In a statement, the police confirmed that Chetcuti had filed a domestic violence report back in 2013, concerning Justin Borg – the man who stands accused of killing her, and the father of her two children.

Zammit Lewis also said that he had invited the organisers of this evening’s protest to meet with him “to open a national debate on what can be done to address this scourge on society.”

At the opening of today’s sitting, Speaker Anġlu Farrugia announced that yet again, access to the Strangers’ Gallery would be closed to the public in light of the protest taking place, though only after 6pm. He argued that the public had no inherent right to access the gallery, and that the need to protect MPs was paramount.