Tue, Mar 24, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Committee approves bill targeting domestic abuse

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

With domestic violence against foreign spouses on the rise, a legislative committee approved an amendment yesterday that would include immigration personnel in prevention efforts.

The Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee approved revisions to Article 50 of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (家庭暴力防治法). The current provision states that medical and social workers, clinical and educational personnel, welfare workers and law enforcement personnel must immediately inform local authorities of any suspected domestic violence.

The committee attached a resolution to the amendment asking the Ministry of the Interior to plan budgets for domestic violence and sexual offense prevention programs within a week. The budget would be funded by the four-year, NT$500 billion (US$14.7 billion) economic stimulus plan.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) said that about NT$30 billion of the economic stimulus package could be used for such purposes.

Statistics showed that more than 408,000 foreign spouses were in Taiwan last August. Among them, about 21,000 suffered from domestic violence between 2003 and last year.

Taiwan had more than 33,000 reported cases of violent crime between January and August last year. Among those, about 4,600, or 14 percent, involved foreign spouses.

Chang Hsiu-yuan (張秀鴛), deputy executive secretary of the Council for Control and Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sex Violation, said that January saw an 8.9 percent increase in cases of domestic violence compared with the same period last year, and that last year’s number was 10 percent higher than the previous year.

About 90 percent of the cases were reported by police, medical or social workers, with only 10 percent coming from concerned neighbors or borough wardens.

More women were victims of domestic violence than men, Chang said, with a 19:1 ratio. KMT Legislator Wu Ching-chih (吳清池) said the number of Taiwanese men could be much higher, but many were reluctant to report abuse for fear that their wives would be deported.

Meanwhile, the same committee yesterday passed a motion to improve access at the legislative compound for those with physical disabilities.

The motion was filed by KMT Legislator Shyu Jong-shyong (徐中雄), who disabled. He said the resolution was long overdue because he has been working at the legislature for 17 years and has had to climb the stairs of one of the compound’s buildings to attend meetings.

He would like to see it equipped with elevators within six months or see those responsible for delays held accountable.

Huang said that even if the elevators cannot be installed in six months, the committees that hold meetings in the building should be relocated to an adjacent building with elevators.

The committee also agreed to invite the Ministry of Justice, the Investigation Bureau and the National Archives Administration to deliver a special report on the abandoned documents and body parts in jars that were recently found at the bureau’s deserted Ankeng Guesthouse in Taipei County.

The guesthouse was once used as an office by the notorious Taiwan Garrison Command to question dissidents and criminal suspects during the Martial Law era.

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