September 29, 2021

WAO wants Act amended to also protect children, family members of domestic violence victims

2 min read

KUALA LUMPUR: There are proposals to further amend the Domestic Violence Act to better protect children and family members of abuse victims, says Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.

“The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) has proposed that when an emergency or interim protection order is issued, family members living in the home of a victim of domestic violence are automatically-listed in the order as well.

“For example, the children of an abused wife will also be listed in the order and removed from the home,” she said when answering a supplementary question raised by Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad (BN-Parit Sulong) in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Nov 21).

A more drastic proposal, she added, was for the automatic removal of the suspected offender.

The Domestic Violence Act 1995 was last amended in 2017 to expedite the issuance of a protection order and widen the definition of abuse to include psychological and emotional abuse.

Yeoh also said her ministry had received 340 reports of domestic violence as of June this year.

“Of this, 316 victims were females while 24 were males.

“The three states with the highest number of reports were Selangor with 91 cases, Pahang with 56 cases, and Kedah with 24 cases,” she said.

Of these cases, she said poor anger management was the cause of domestic violence against 57 female victims.

Other causes of domestic violence against female victims, she added, were misunderstandings (48 cases) and drug abuse (43 cases).

Yeoh also noted that domestic violence cases were under-reported to the ministry.

“Based on police statistics, there were 3,139 reports of domestic violence, which means that 10% of cases are reported to the ministry,” she said.

She said the lack of coordination with regard to such data was an area that needed to be addressed to allow more effective measures to be taken against the perpetrators of domestic violence.

As such, this was one of the issues that would be addressed by the special committee set up to tackle domestic violence, she added.

The committee comprising representatives from 16 government agencies and women’s non-governmental organisations will hold its first meeting on Nov 28.

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