Sat, Oct 15, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Home violence law needs reform

HOME HELP The existing law needs to be changed in order to better help victims of violence in the home, legislators and help groups said yesterday at a press conference

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and supportive lawmakers from the legislature gathered yesterday to unveil its proposals to amend the Domestic Violence Law (家暴法) before proposing the draft to the Legislative Yuan.

According to the director of the Taipei Awakening Association, Lai Mei-hui (賴美惠), a group dedicated to protecting women's rights and a member of the coalition against domestic and sexual violence, the existing Domestic Violence Law that was put into effect in 1998 has many flaws.

The amendments proposed by the coalition included the establishment of protection shelters for victims of violence and their children and a system providing employment opportunities for victims.

"Most victims are financially dependent on aggressors, so providing job opportunities for them is a way of letting them become less reliant on their aggressive partners," Lai Shu-ling (賴淑玲) of the Awakening Association said.

The coalition also said that the regulations should protect more than only those with "marriages," as stated in the original law, and encompass those cohabitating as well as social workers who may face danger in dealing with the situation.

Another focus of the amendment was to cancel the need for a fee when victims apply for protection. The current fee has risen to NT$1,000, posing a problem for many victims who have economic difficulties, said the coalition.

The coalition also hoped to implement a new "arrest policy," which would allow the police to arrest domestic aggressors instead of the conventional method of waiting for a court warrant that may delay protecting the victims.

New amendments also say that subsidies should be given to the victim to ensure at least a minimum standard of living.

Yesterday's event was also held to announce results of a conference on violence prevention.

After a survey conducted by the coalition in August indicated that 7 percent of the 1,101 people interviewed had been victims or had known victims of domestic violence, the coalition decided to hold a violence-prevention conference last month in which various government ministries and departments participated.

The conference results called for amendments to the law governing domestic violence, as well as the establishment of a "department of violence prevention" and a "committee on gender-equality and violence-prevention."

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said she hoped the gender-equality committee could furthermore become an actual independent department instead of a committee.

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