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Council of Europe GREVIO Report Criticises Malta's Abortion Ban on Rape Victims




The Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) has criticised Malta's total ban on abortion, which does not allow victims of rape to terminate a consequent pregnancy.


In their final draft report on Malta released in November 2020, GREVIO stated:


Several European studies reveal that a significant proportion of women who decide to use emergency contraception or resort to an abortion, and all the more so in cases of successive abortions, have suffered sexual violence, often committed by a former or a current intimate partner. Victims of rape with an unwanted pregnancy must have access to support services in the same way as any victim of sexual violence, including when they wish to terminate their pregnancy. In countries like Malta where recourse to abortion is penalised even in the event of rape, it is necessary to examine, limiting oneself to the scope of the convention, the impact of this context on the application of Article 25.

Article 25 of the Istanbul Convention requires states which are party to the Convention, including Malta, to provide the necessary support to victims of rape.


The report goes on to urge the Maltese government to "take additional measures to guarantee all victims of sexual violence access to the above services, as well as longer-term psychological support, ensuring that the reproductive choices of women victims of rape do not constitute a barrier to their access."


GREVIO is an independent human rights monitoring body mandated to monitor the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (also known as “the Istanbul Convention”) by the parties to the convention. It is composed of 15 independent and impartial experts appointed on the basis of their recognised expertise in the fields of human rights, gender equality, violence against women and/or assistance to and protection of victims.


The full report can be read here.