The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality welcomes the proposed amendments to the Domestic Violence Act 1994 (DVA). However, the amendments do not go far enough in protecting women from domestic violence.
JAG notes that many crucial issues that have been raised in JAG press statements and memoranda since 1999 have still not been addressed. These issues include:
- Stalking and intimidation are common forms of domestic violence and should be included into the definition of what constitutes domestic violence in the DVA.
- The category of victims/perpetrators must be broadened to include intimate partner violence, so that relationships outside of marriage can be included under the protection of the DVA.
- Recognition that domestic violence be a separate offence under the Penal Code. As it currently is not, charges for domestic violence offences under the Penal Code do not reflect the serious, persistent and often repetitive nature of domestic violence. Domestic violence must be addressed in the Penal Code so that it can be read harmoniously with the DVA.
JAG however welcomes the positive changes that have been made in the amendment bill. These include:
- The addition of “psychological abuse, including emotional injury” to the definition of domestic violence. However there must be correlating changes made to the Penal Code to reflect this.
- Making domestic violence a seizable offence, which allows the police to investigate and arrest immediately.
- The automatic attachment of the power to arrest to every protection order when violence is likely. This enables the police to arrest a perpetrator when a protection order has been violated.
- A protection order may be made to prohibit or restrict the perpetrator from communicating by any means with the protected person.
JAG urges that the three crucial points highlighted above be addressed, in order to fully protect survivors of domestic violence. These suggested amendments should be made to the Bill prior to its Second Reading in Parliament. The existing version of the Bill only goes part of the way for comprehensive reform of the Act.
For further information, please contact Ivy Josiah, Executive Director, Women’s Aid Organisation, on 03 7957 5636 / 0636.
Endorsed by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG), comprising:
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
PO Box 493, Jalan Sultan, 46760 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 603 79575636 / 0636 Fax: 603 79563237 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)
24-D Jalan Jones, 10250 Penang
Tel: 604 2280342 Fax: 604 2285784 Email: email@example.com
Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group (SAWO)
Lot 23-3, Block C, Damai Point, 88300 Kota Kinabalu
Tel/Fax: 088269291 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
No. 52 Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 31400 Ipoh
Tel/Fax: 605 5469715 Email: email@example.com
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
13 Lorong 4/48E, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 603 77844977 Fax: 603 77844978 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sisters in Islam (SIS)
7 Jalan 6/10, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 603 77856121 Fax: 603 77858737 Email: email@example.com
All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
85 Jalan 21/1, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 603 78774221 Fax: 603 78743312 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org