The Garden of Hope Foundation yesterday urged the government to allocate more resources to helping victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, saying they are among the groups most seriously affected by the global financial crisis.
"Compared with January last year, the Garden of Hope Foundation has observed a 10 percent to 40 percent growth in the number of victims in our care during the global economic crisis," foundation executive director Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) told a press conference.
She said that the difference in the growth rate was because of higher numbers in different parts of the nation.
"The victims in our care are often those who are not picked up by the government's social security network," she said.
"Some of them are not qualified to receive unemployment benefits because they were laid off without getting proof from their employers, or because they are not covered by labor or national health insurance because their employers did not sign them up," she said.
Because of the global crisis, it has become extremely difficult for these people to find jobs and local governments sometimes reject their applications for low-income compensation "because their financial conditions are not the worst, as more and more people are trying to get benefits," she said.
A victim of domestic violence surnamed Chen (陳) told her story at the press conference.
Chen quit the job she had been in for 15 years to escape from her ex-husband, who had been harassing and beating her. Unfortunately, Chen's new employer decided to close the business not long after she started work because of the economic crisis, without paying her full salary or giving her any compensation.
"I still have a family to feed, so I never stopped looking for a job,” Chen said, in tears. “It's already hard to find a job during difficult times such as these. What's worse is that I've run into many employers who didn't want to hire me because I'm a victim of domestic violence."
Another woman surnamed Lee (李), an unemployed single mother with three children, recorded her story on tape.
"I couldn't find a job, so I turned to the government for low-income compensation and was rejected because I'm not married, so my parents' properties have to be accounted for as well," she said. "But they didn't know that my parents are divorced and my father asks for money from me."
Ministry of the Interior official Chang Hsiu-yuan (張秀鴛), who attended the press conference, said the government had expanded and strengthened its social security network, but added that “the government will look into these cases and see if these kind of problems can be dealt with.”