Domestic violence awareness reveals elderly abuse rise

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Sep 06, 2018 - Page 3

More than 130,000 incidents of domestic violence are reported each year and while violence involving an intimate partner accounts for about 55 percent of them, violence against elderly family members is rising, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said yesterday.

The ministry yesterday took the opportunity to raise public awareness about domestic violence as it marked the 20th anniversary of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (家庭暴力防治法).

Taiwan was the first Asian nation to pass legislation against domestic violence, but as its social environment has changed, the causes of domestic violence have become more complex, leading to a gradual increase in the number of reports each year, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said at a news conference held by the ministry.

About 55 percent of domestic violence reports involve violence against a spouse or partner, 13 percent against children or adolescents, 15 percent against parents or grandparents, and 17 percent against other family members or relatives within four degrees of kinship, ministry statistics showed.

The more than 130,000 reports each year involve 90,000 to 100,000 victims, and in the past three years, reports of parents being abused by their children have increased from about 3,000 cases to 8,000, the ministry’s Department of Protective Services Director Lin Wei-yan (林維言) said.

The rise in reports of abuse against elderly family members does not necessarily mean an increase in incidents, but could instead show that the public is becoming more aware of domestic violence, allowing “dark figures” to come to light, she said.

Many elderly parents abused by their children are not willing to turn their children in, so most reports come from healthcare facilities, other people in the community or social welfare workers, which shows that the nation’s social security network is functioning as intended, Lin added.

A government project was initiated in February to strengthen the social safety net by mobilizing all relevant agencies and civil society to reduce the risk of domestic violence as much as possible, in the hope of achieving zero tolerance for violence in communities, Chen said.