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Mon, Nov 28, 2011
China Daily/Asia News Network
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Orders on domestic violence to keep women safe
by Cheng Yingqi, Cao Yin and He Dan

BEIJING - Courts involved in a pilot project have been successfully handing down protection orders to ease the pain of domestic abuse.

"I can finally lift up my head and walk on the street," said a woman from Hunan province who had been threatened by her husband when she tried to divorce him.

She ran away and hid for half a year before she learned about the protection orders.

"I finally do not have to worry about my husband finding me," said the woman, who preferred not to release her name.

Friday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

In the pilot program, courts in 10 provinces have issued about 200 protection orders at the request of victims of domestic violence since 2008, according to Chen Min, a researcher with the China Institute of Applied Jurisprudence under the Supreme People's Court of China.

Among these cases, only three orders were violated, Chen told China Daily on Friday.

"Among these three violators, one was detained while the other two complied with the orders after police intervention," Chen said.

"The statistics showed that protection orders worked well in helping women, and this practice will be promoted nationwide," she said.

When a protection order is issued, the abuser may be banned from being within 200 meters of the victim, in addition to other conditions. Abusers who violate the ruling may be detained.

Jiang Yue'e, director of the legal department of All-China Women's Federation, called the practice an effective tool to fight domestic violence.

"It can stop victims from being hurt, instead of punishing the abusers after the hurt is done," Jiang said.

In China, nearly one-fourth of married women experience domestic abuse of some sort, according to a nationwide survey released by All-China Women's Federation last month.

It also said 5.5 per cent of them were beaten by their husbands.

"Domestic violence not only hurts the victims, it has also become a factor threatening social stability," said Duan Yarong, vice-president of the No 1 civil court with the No 2 people's court in Dongguan, Guangdong province.

The city court issued its first civil protection order on Thursday when a scared wife applied for protection against her husband.

The court said the woman's husband beat her constantly whenever he felt depressed about his business failure, but her many complaints to the police did not stop the problem.

After learning she sued for a divorce in September, the violence worsened and the husband kept threatening her until she got the protection order.

The National People's Congress, China's top legislature, is assessing the feasibility of a specific law dealing with domestic violence.

"Domestic violence is a worldwide problem. Now more than 80 countries have a separate law on this issue, but China is one of the few nations in Asia that does not have such a law," said Zhen Yan, vice-president of All-China Women's Federation.

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