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Two new offences have been instituted in Malta. These were introduced by means of amending or adding to the Criminal Code in February and March 2024.

The first crime introduced is directed to virginity testing. This new crime is listed after another crime which makes it an offence for any person to carry out an intervention on a woman’s genitalia without her consent. The Article 251EA  of the Criminal Code deals with virginity testing. It is a crime for any person to examine the female genitalia with the sole purpose of test whether that woman is a virgin or otherwise. The punishment is a prison sentence between 1 and 5 years. The same punishment may be imposed on an accomplice who aids, abets, counsel or incites.

Another new crime was introduced in relation to forced sterilization. Article 251F reads that it is a crime to remove the reproduction organs of a minor or an adult of whatever sex. The removal of the organs must be intended to sterilised. The law imposed a punishment of imprisonment of 5 to 9 years. An fine may be also imposed between €8,000 ad €20,000.

The law gives 3 categories of what is free and informed consent. The first is that the adult must be informed that a surgical procedure may result in him or her becoming sterile. The risks must be given to the adult who must also be given alternative options. The adult must have the capability of withdrawing from the procedure, even just before the surgical procedure.

In the even that if the adult is unable to give his/her consent, no other person may give the consent on his/her behalf.

As to minors, the parents and/or legal guardian cannot give their consent on the minor’s behalf. No offence will exist, if the medical intervention is not done with the sole purpose to sterilize the minor. It is not an offence if one or more doctors certify that the medical intervention is required  to save or preserve the minor’s life.

Avv. Malcolm Mifsud


Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates

For more information you can contact one of our Team Members at Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates.