Thu, Feb 16, 2006 - Page 2 News List

MOI pledges to address abuse of foreign spouses

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of the Interior yesterday called for the protection of foreign spouses from domestic violence after figures showed that close to 20 percent of foreign spouses were victims of abuse.

According to ministry figures, 60,754 domestic violence cases were reported last year, 2,311 of which affected foreign spouses.

Given that as of December last year there were a total of 130,899 foreign spouses in the country, 1.76 percent of them were abused, ministry officials said.

Since studies show that for each case of abuse that is reported, 10 go unreported, meaning that the actual percentage of foreign spouses abused might be as high as 17.6 percent, officials said.

However, the Taiwan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence questioned the ministry's figures on Tuesday, claiming that eight out of 10 foreign spouses were victims of domestic violence.

The ministry has issued booklets on domestic violence prevention in Mandarin, English, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese for government agencies and civic groups to pass out to foreign spouses.

Officials said that the booklets will help foreign spouses to understand how to go about reporting abuse and seeking help.

The ministry has also recruited additional interpreters to man its violence-prevention hotlines and to provide counseling in different languages.

Additional interpreters are currently undergoing training, officials said. As of December last year, 409 interpreters had been trained.

The ministry also urged local police agencies to provide assistance to foreign spouses when needed and to be on the lookout for possible cases of domestic violence.

Government agencies have also been given a list of potential problems that foreign spouses might face under categories such as health and education so that they can provide assistance in these areas.

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