The long-awaited Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2011 was tabled at the Dewan Rakyat today, allowing victims and their families to seek immediate protection by the authorities.
The amendment seeks to strengthen the Interim Protection Order (IPO) and Emergency Protection Order (EPO), allowing social welfare officers at every district level to protect victims from alleged abusers.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim said victims could call the ministry’s 24-hour hotline for help.
“Our officers will visit the victim if he or she is unable to escape from the house. This service includes weekends and after office hours,” she said during a press conference at the Dewan Rakyat media centre today.
She added that emergency protection could be authorised within two hours of the application, even before a police report was lodged.
“The alleged abuser will have to leave the house while the victim stays in the house safely for seven days.”
She said this was part of a “cooling off” period for the victim, which would give children and others in the house affected by domestic violence, a sense of security before the victim continued with court procedures.
At present, both victim and abuser were allowed to live under the same roof.
Those found guilty of breaking the EPO’s restrictions face up to six months in prison, and may also be jailed up to a year if they commit acts of violence towards a person granted police protection.
Domestic violence includes acts of misappropriation of the victim’s property, threats that cause victims to fear for their safety, and electronic threats or communication that insult the modesty of the victim.
The amendment is expected to be debated in Parliament in the current sitting which ends Thursday.
Source : Minderjeet Kaur @ FMT Online