Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) welcomes the amendment to the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) which was tabled for the first reading in Parliament yesterday.
According to PKR Women national vice-president Voon Shiak Ni, the amendment is made to strengthen the laws and include acts of misappropriation of the victim’s property, threats that cause victims to fear their safety and also electronic threats or communications that insult the modesty of the victim.
“The amendment tabled for the first reading today in Parliament extends the protection for victims by providing the avenue of Emergency Protection Orders (EPO) which can be issued within two hours without a police report or going to the Court.
“The social welfare officer can issue EPO to protect victims from alleged abusers provided the definitions of domestic violence are met,” Voon said, adding that those found guilty of breaking the EPO’s restrictions face up to six months in prison, and may also be jailed for up to a year if they commit violence on a person granted police protection.
Additionally, she said with the amendment, it also strengthens the Interim Protection Order (IPO), allowing some restrictions that were previously only available in a Protection Order to be used in an IPO. Voon noted that Malaysia passed the DVA in 1994 and it has been amended a few times to strengthen the law that included extending police powers to arrest alleged abusers without a warrant.
While praising the legislators in the country for making a good effort in strengthening the law, Voon said it cannot be denied that enforcement is still an issue at the end of the day. Citing the example of a high profile domestic violence case in 2015, Voon said the victim was beaten to death by her husband although she had filed for divorce and gotten several IPOs from the Court.
“This shows that the papers (protection order documents) did not deter the estranged husband from going after her and beating her.” She noted that there were also numerous other cases where domestic violence victims continued to be abused and harassed despite all the police reports made and the IPOs issued.
“What can be done when a person is still receiving threats after he/she has been granted an IPO? Is it the police’s duty to arrest the abuser once a report is made and that the IPO has been breached?” Voon said the ugly fact that is in dire need to be addressed by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is the lack of DVA enforcement.
She said last year alone, Kuala Lumpur Hospital had recorded a rise in domestic abuse victims, adding that there were times when the number of cases increased from 20 to 150 cases in a month.
In order to provide protection to the victims of domestic abuse, Voon urged the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to also focus on enforcement and bringing the abusers to Court.
“Enforcement must be enhanced in view that domestic violence cases are on the rise each year in the country.”
Source : @ Borneo Post Online