Court orders help protect victims of domestic violence

[Liang Luwen/For China Daily]

SPC calls for fast channel to accept applications and better collection of evidence

While filing for divorce earlier this year, a woman named Zheng in Rizhao, Shandong Province, also applied to a local court for a personal safety protection order, saying she would not could not bear the harassment and threats from her husband.

After an investigation, the Donggang District People’s Court found that the couple had not lived together for some time and that Zheng had called the police four times during their period of separation due to frequent disturbances caused by her husband.

“He would follow me on my way home or work, and he would also insult me ​​and my relatives when visiting our child,” Zheng said, adding that his behavior seriously disrupted his daily life. .

Although the divorce case has not been resolved, the court recently issued the protective order, identifying the man’s harassment and insults as domestic violence and asking him not to approach Zheng.

Chinese courts issued 3,356 such orders last year, according to the annual work report of the Supreme People’s Court, China’s highest court, which was released on March 8 at the Assembly’s annual meeting. National People’s Party, China’s highest legislature. Similar to restraining orders in the West, these are civil measures intended to protect those subject to pain or harm from family members.

Explaining the report at the fifth session of the 13th NPC, SPC Chairman Zhou Qiang said, “We firmly oppose domestic violence and call for severe punishment for the perpetrators. We have also worked with national women’s federations to ensure that Personal Safety Protection Orders are an attempt to further protect the rights and interests of women and children. »

Days before the session, which ended on March 11, the Supreme Court issued a joint directive with six other government agencies, including the departments of Education, Public Safety and Civil Affairs, calling for an update. more effective implementation of Personal Safety Protection Orders.

Authorities have praised the role of such orders in reducing the possibility of further harm to victims in recent years, but admitted that some people still complain that it is difficult to apply for them, as many courts insist on a strict examination of the evidence in cases of domestic violence.

To address the issue, the 20-article directive required courts at each level to establish a fast-track channel for accepting applications for personal safety protection orders and to do more to help victims collect evidence.

He also said that the courts should notify local public security departments, community committees, schools, women’s federations and child protection associations within 24 hours of issuing an order and ask them to assist in its implementation.

Authorities and organizations have the right to monitor whether the order is effective, and they should contact courts or public security organs in a timely manner if the order is not carried out, he added.

Civil affairs departments have been urged to give more training to those responsible for resolving domestic disputes and to provide more funds and personnel to deal with domestic violence. He also ordered them to promote the construction of temporary shelters for the victims.

The directive obliges government agencies and social organizations to report indications of domestic violence to the police as soon as possible, adding that mediation services, legal aid and psychological help should also be improved to prevent victims don’t get hurt any more.

China has attached importance to protecting women’s rights in various ways in recent years. Its first law against domestic violence came into force in March 2016, and national lawmakers began considering amendments to the law on the protection of women’s rights at the end of last year.

During the review of the law in December, a number of lawmakers suggested that prosecutors pursue public interest lawsuits against government agencies with poor domestic violence performance.

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