Fri, Mar 07, 2003 - Page 4 News List

MOI to get tough on domestic-abuse offenders with extended police powers

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of the Interior plans to expand police powers to allow on-the-spot arrests of domestic-abuse offenders, the ministry announced yesterday.

Under the Criminal Code, police are only entitled to arrest domestic-abuse offenders if they are witness to the incident or hold a warrant of arrest issued by prosecutors.

According to police statistics, some 2,480 domestic-abuse cases are reported each month. Last year, 17,376 cases were reported, with only 609 arrests made.

"The regulations are a massive hinderance to us and many victims are critical of our failure to arrest offenders after they have filed a report," Wang Chin-wang (王進旺), director-general of the National Police Administration, said in the min-istry's press conference. "To change the situation, we have decided to revise the Anti-Domestic Violence Law (家庭暴力防治法) to entitle police to arrest people who they believe are involved in domestic abuses."

Wang said that the amendment would allow police to deal with domestic abuse cases more effectively.

Lin Tzu-ling (林慈玲), secretary-general of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Council under the interior ministry, explained that the amendment has been taken from the US.

Police in the US are entitled to arrest domestic-abuse offenders as long as they believe that the offender would further endanger victims.

As International Women's Day approaches, the ministry yesterday launched a campaign to create a "zero tolerance" environment for Taiwan's women and children.

In yesterday's conference, the ministry officials also said that they would establish a community security system to trace sex offenders and notify the communities where they live, even though a number of technical problems have yet to be solved.

The campaign came after Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) vowed to reduce the nation's crime rate over the next three months, saying that he would step down from his post if he fails to achieve his goal.

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