Fri, Apr 03, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Committee to ease loan restrictions

HELPING HAND Victims of domestic violence aged 20 and above will now be able to apply for loans to start a new business after the Domestic Violence Act was amended

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A legislative committee yesterday agreed to relax regulations on loan applications from victims of domestic violence.

Amendments to Article 57 of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (家庭暴力防治法) were approved by the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday allowing victims of domestic violence aged 20 and above to apply for loans to start a new business.

Previously, only victims of domestic violence who could prove that they were raising children single-handedly or who could exercise the rights of an under age child were eligible for such loans.

The amendments will proceed to the plenary legislative session for further debate without undergoing cross-party negotiations.

The revisions were a compromise reached during inter-party negotiation.

The original proposal was to offer applicants with loan subsidies, but was amended to let victims of domestic violence apply for such loans. It would then be up to the government agency responsible for the business to decide on the qualifications of the applicant, application procedure, interest rate, amount of subsidy, quota and length of the loan.

There is no gender limit set for government loans available to people aged between 20 and 45, nor are they required to be raising their child single-handedly.

Loans available to women with “special circumstances,” however, have stricter restrictions.

Potential applicants must be aged between 20 and 65. Their family income must meet certain requirements and their husband must be either dead, missing or serving a jail sentence of more than one year.

Applicants may also be divorced on the grounds that they were abandoned or abused by their spouse. They must prove that they are raising children single-handedly, either because they are divorced or their spouse has died. Their children can have been born out of wedlock but must be unable to work and cannot be older than 18. If the person has the ability to work, they must prove that they were forced to quit working because they are seriously sick or have to take care of a child under the age of six.

Meanwhile, the same committee was in deadlock over amendments to the Sexual Assault Prevention Act (性侵害犯罪防治法), which would allow victims of sexual assault suffering from mental diseases to let their guardian handle their property.

The committee agreed to debate the revisions along with other related bills in the future.

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