Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday pledged to review guidelines for domestic abuse prevention to improve response times, after it was discovered that the main victim in Friday’s acid attack had last month reported being choked by the perpetrator, with whom he allegedly shared a romantic relationship.
Chen yesterday expressed sadness over the attack and said the ministry would review its protocols for dealing with domestic abuse incidents.
Response times for risk assessments and interventions by psychiatric care professionals need to be faster to protect at-risk individuals, Chen said.
“This incident brings deep sadness and regret,” Chen said.
“People should not hurt those they love but protect them, even when they are lost,” he added. “Life is precious.”
Chen made the remarks after the revelation that a 23-year-old male National Taiwan University (NTU) graduate student surnamed Hsieh (謝), who was the intended victim in the attack on the NTU campus on Friday that wounded two others, was known to be a domestic abuse victim to Taipei’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Prevention Center.
A month before the attack, Hsieh had reported that he was choked by his former partner surnamed Chang (張), an assault that left bruises on his neck, the ministry’s Protective Services Director-General Chang Hsiu-yuan (張秀鴛) said.
Chang, a 25-year-old National Taiwan University of Science and Technology graduate, was identified as the alleged perpetrator of the acid attack. He died of suicide, by stabbing and pouring acid on himself immediately after the attack, which was believed to have been triggered by a rough break-up between him and Hsieh.
When social workers administered a questionnaire to evaluate Hsieh, he scored a seven on a 15 point scale, one point short of being considered in imminent danger, Chang Hsiu-yuan said on Friday.
Social workers assigned to the case worried that Hsieh was in more danger than the metric indicated and tried to mitigate the risk by sending his former partner Chang to see a psychotherapist and by frequently visiting with Hsieh, she said.
However, a restraining order was not sought because Hsieh feared that such an action so soon after the breakup might enrage his former partner, she said.
“The Taipei City Government has a very thorough system for domestic abuse prevention, but to our profound shock, this saddening event still occurred,” she said.
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