MUT writes to PM asking for investigation – Does not rule out directives
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Update; The Malta Union of Teachers said that this morning it wrote to the Prime Minister as it is “extremely concerned at the way cases of alleged child abuse are being treated by the police force, especially where educators are concerned.”
The Union is asking the PM to investigate the methodologies being used in such cases and to make the necessary changes in legislation “to protect all parties concerned from the abuse of a system which appears to be flawed and incongruent.”
In the mean time the MUT said that it is not excluding the issue of various directives in the upcoming scholastic year if the situation remains unchanged.
The full letter is shown below.
“Dear Hon. Prime Minister,
The Malta Union of Teachers is extremely concerned at the way cases of alleged child abuse are being treated by the police force, especially where educators are concerned.
The MUT notes that:
a) There appears to be no uniform way in how such cases are dealt with. In some cases allegations that reach the police are investigated in a highly professional manner and action is taken if and when the police believe they have a case. In other cases it appears that once the allegation reaches the police no investigation is carried out at all and the person who allegedly abused is prosecuted immediately. Moreover it highly confusing to see how some people have their names published on day one, while others do not. This gives rise to concern because it appears that there are two weights and two measures in the way people are treated by the same police force.
b) The police inspector who was recently behind the case of Mr Anthony Callus is the same inspector who is behind a case of another educator, which case has been dragging on for over three years in the Gozo courts, and in both cases it clearly appears that the persons involved were simply arrested and prosecuted without any proper investigation into the case. The Union wonder whether this is a coincidence or otherwise. This methodology is ruining the lives of educators who are involved, who end up being suspended from their work and/or having to resign, after their personal and professional reputation is literally rubbished on a simple allegation.
c) The methodology apparently being applied by this inspector and/or the police force in these cases literally means that all one needs to do to “get rid” of the educator who disciplined his/her son/daughter is simply turn up at the police station and allege abuse. If one takes the Gozo case as an example, the educator would need years to clear his/her name. In the mean time the person passes through hell, in a literal sense, with an automatic suspension especially if in the civil service, a rubbished reputation and thousand of Euro expenses in defence lawyers.
d) The methodology in question is also proving to be a death blow for many initiatives taken by educators within the context of extracurricular activities, and an even harder blow on NGOs who provide voluntary service to children. Outings, live-ins, exchanges abroad and similar activities will most definitely be affected. The MUT has been inundated with calls and emails from educators in various schools and volunteers in various organisations expressing their concern.
In light of the above the Union is asking your office to investigate the methodologies being used in such cases and to make the necessary changes in legislation to protect all parties concerned from the abuse of a system which appears to be flawed and incongruent. In the mean time the MUT is not excluding the issue of various directives in the upcoming scholastic year if the situation remains unchanged.”
President, Malta Union of Teachers
A meeting at the Education Ministry, involving The Minister for Education Evarist Bartolo, officials from the Malta Union of Teachers, the Acting Police Commissioner Ray Zammit and Ministry officials, discussed the situation of educators and what to do in cases of persons accused of child abuse.
In a statement, the Ministry said that it was agreed that while there should be full protection of the children involved, at the same time the rights should also be protected of all persons concerned in the case.
It was agreed that in the coming days the MUT will be involved in a further meeting together with the Ministers for Education, Home Affairs and Justice to see what should be done to address these delicate issues.