Mon, Mar 19, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Caning for sex offenders: DPP

TOUGH MEASURES DPP Legislator Hsueh Ling said she will publish the names of presidential contenders who do not support a proposed amendment to the law

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsueh Ling holds up a whip at a press conference yesterday, where she called for the inclusion of caning as punishment in the Prevention of Sexual Offenses Act.

PHOTO: LO PEI-DER, TAIPEI TIMES

Several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday urged presidential hopefuls to endorse a proposed amendment that would allow for the caning of sex offenders.

At a press conference in the legislature yesterday, DPP Legislator Hsueh Ling (薛凌) demanded that presidential contenders declare their stance toward the proposed amendment immediately.

She also called on lawmakers to back an amendment to the Sexual Assault Prevention Law (性侵害防治法) that includes the provision on caning.

She said she would publicize the names of presidential contenders who did not back the amendment, adding that she hoped it would pass cross-party negotiations this week.

"The future leader of the nation has to respect Taiwanese women," she said. "I will mobilize women's groups to boycott any national leader who does not respect women and does not endorse this important legislation, which aims to intimidate sexual predators."

The proposal came after the police arrested two suspects allegedly involved in the rape of a medical student on March 11. The suspects are believed to have abducted the student as she was walking near Shilin Night Market in Taipei.

One of the suspects is also suspected of having raped a female taxi driver before his capture on Saturday morning.

Although police broke the case in five days, many women have doubts about the safety of Taiwanese society because the two suspects abducted their victim from a city street, Hsueh said.

DPP Legislator Chang Ching-hui (張慶惠), who was at the press conference, said the number of reported sexual assault cases over the past few years grew 15 percent annually according to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior.

"Last year alone, 5,638 cases were reported. About 60 percent of the victims were minors and the youngest victim was only three," she said.

Chang said Taiwan should emulate Florida's "Jessica's Law" and introduce severe punishments for malicious or serial sex offenders.

Jessica's Law was passed in Florida in 2005 after a young girl named Jessica Lunsford was raped and killed by a previously convicted sex offender.

The law was introduced amid public outrage as a result of the case, and mandates at least 25-years of prison and lifetime electronic monitoring for convicted sexual predators. Forty-two out of the 50 US states have introduced similar legislation since the passage of the law.

DPP Legislator Chen Shui-hui (陳秀惠), who joined the proposal, said sex offenders should be given a "taste of their own medicine" by undergoing caning.

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