Sat, Mar 08, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Group urges stalking legislation

CORNERING THE PROBLEM:The Modern Women’s Foundation said that there are no regulations that apply specifically to stalking and fines are often not effective

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

The Modern Women’s Foundation yesterday called on the government to push for legislation specifically targeting stalkers, as there is no such law, despite many people suffering from stalking, a foundation spokesperson said.

“According to our survey, as many as 78 percent of domestic violence victims have suffered from stalking. If we look closer into the numbers, 45.9 percent have been stalked for more than one year, and 24.9 percent said they have been stalked for more than three years,” foundation deputy chief executive Lin Mei-hsun (林美薰) told a news conference in Taipei.

“Knowing that someone is following you all the time is very scary, but unfortunately, there’s no law to punish stalkers,” she said.

According to the survey, among those who have been stalked, 68.5 percent said they were harassed through phone calls, 59.1 percent said they were followed and 44.8 percent said the stalker broke into their homes.

“Although victims suffer from different types of stalking and harassment, the only law that could apply to such crime is the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulates that those who follow others for no apparent reason and do not stop after being asked can be fined NT$3,000,” women’s rights activist Jennifer Wang (王如玄) said.

“Apparently, the law does not cover all types of stalking, and the penalty is not really effective,” she said.

A victim of stalking, surnamed Lee (李), said at the press conference that she was stalked by her ex-husband for more than two years.

“My ex-husband would wait outside my house, or the place where I work. To avoid running into him, I had to leave very early in the morning to go to work and return home very late at night,” she said. “I even moved to get away from him, but he found out where I lived and would sneak into the apartment building.”

Lee said that although her ex-husband did not physically harm her, she lives in constant fear.

“I tried to ask for help from the police, but the only thing the police could do is to drive me around. They can’t do anything else since my ex-husband did not break any law,” Lee said.

Lin said the foundation will form a task force to push for an anti-stalking law to give a more accurate definition of stalking and provide harsher penalties for stalkers in a bid to stop such harassment.

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