The government needs to do more to prevent domestic violence, campaigners said yesterday as the Ministry of the Interior celebrated the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the Domestic Violence Law (家暴法).
“I tried not to say anything at first when I became a victim of domestic violence, because I wanted to keep my family together,” Lee Ping (李冰), a former victim of domestic violence, said at the event.
“But the more I tolerated it, the more severe the violence became,” she said.
What was more painful, Lee said, was her ex-husband beating her child.
“Finally we were divorced, but at the time people had no idea about protecting victims of domestic violence, so the court assigned guardianship of my child to the father,” she said, in tears.
“My child continued to get beaten, but didn’t dare tell anyone,” Lee said.
All that changed after June 24, 1998.
“On June 24, 1998, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to adopt a law against domestic violence. That’s something we’re proud of,” Minister of the Interior Liao Liao-yi (廖了以) said.
“During the past 10 years, we set up the 113 nationwide domestic violence hotline, established a single window through which cases are reported and coordinated efforts from the judiciary, police and health, education and social welfare authorities,” he said.
“We also trained police officers in dealing with domestic violence and set up legal assistance centers for victims at courts,” the minister said.
Although they lauded the government’s efforts, civic group members said more improvements were needed.
“Spending more on domestic violence prevention and victim protection is not really spending, it’s making an investment,” said Chou Ching-yu (周清玉), chairwoman of the Taiwan Coalition Against Violence and a member of the Executive Yuan’s Commission for Promotion of Women’s Rights.
“At the moment, social workers are outsourced. They’re paid little and have no chance for promotion in the civil service system,” Chou said.
“We need to respect their professionalism and give them places in the civil service system to keep them,” she said.
Meanwhile, Chou suggested that there should be a high-level government agency in charge of handling domestic violence cases and coordination of different Cabinet departments.
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