34.7 percent of Chinese families report incidents of domestic abuse

Chinese marriage law experts have called for legislation on domestic violence.

“National legislation to combat domestic violence is badly in need, because existing articles of law do not provide a sufficient legal basis for timely and effective judicial intervention,” Li Mingshun, deputy head of the marriage and family board of the China Law Society, said at a conference in Beijing marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The conference was jointly hosted by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) and the United Nations in China.

“We have been receiving more and more complaints about domestic violence in recent years, despite 27 provincial-level governments having made considerable effort to enact local regulations against this problem,” said Meng Xiaosi, vice-president of the ACWF.

The ACWF has annually received 40,000 to 50,000 complaints about domestic violence since 2004.

According to research by the China Law Society, 85.4 percent of these cases involve husbands acting violently toward their wives.

These women suffer physical, psychological and sexual abuse an average of 7.4 times a year, according to data from women’s organization in Henan, Beijing, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hubei, Liaoning and Hebei.

The reasons for the abuse range from infertility, giving birth to a daughter and husbands engaging in excessive drinking.

“The main difficulty in suing a family member for abuse is producing the evidence,” said Jiang Yue, a professor of marriage and family law at Xiamen University.

To obtain a divorce for domestic violence in China, civil law requires a wife to be able to prove in court that her husband beat her, though any injuries that she may have sustained have usually healed by the time the hearing is held, Jiang pointed out.

“In some cases, a victim submits a certificate from a hospital confirming her injuries, but the husband is still able to argue that his wife was injured in another way,” she said.

Current laws and regulation are also unhelpful to women who do not want to divorce their husbands, said Xia Zhengfang, a judge who presides at the No 1 civil law court of the Jiangsu Provincial Higher People’s Court.

“For most women who suffer domestic violence, divorce is not their first choice, since they may lose financial resources or be forced to leave their children if the marriage breaks up,” Xia said. “So it is crucial to be able to restrain violence.”

However, the Regulations on Administrative Penalties for Public Security do not specify domestic violence, so the police are unable to act proactively to prevent abuse.

“As the law currently stands, national regulations on constraining domestic violence are contained in eight areas of the Marriage Law, the Law on the Protection of Minors and the Law on the Protection of Women and Children,” Li Mingshun said. “But only two of them are of practical help to victims.”

Thirteen law experts in China, including Li, drafted a proposal in June on the prevention and punishment of domestic violence, which covers areas like compelling an aggressor to submit to re-education at a public security facility for 30 to 90 days.

http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20101126-249333.html

Graph of statistics http://news.asiaone.com/A1MEDIA/news/11Nov10/others/20101126.122506_domestic.jpg

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