On March 7, women’s rights NGO Beijing Equality released a two-year monitoring report on the implementation of China’s first anti-domestic violence law. The report suggests that the state should strengthen its distribution of information and news on domestic violence for the purpose of raising public awareness, fulfil its responsibilities when dealing with family abuse cases, and protect the victims.
The media is the main channel for the dissemination of domestic-violence related information, with women’s organisations rather than the government the main force behind its distribution. According to the report, 5,892 articles on domestic violence were published on various news outlets from March 1st, 2016 to February 28th, 2018, of which 42% were from women’s organisations, 23% from official women’s federations and only 1.7% from government departments.
In general there has been a decrease of news releases on the topic since the law came into force, and an asymmetry in the distribution of the coverage, with urban cases being exposed much more than rural ones.
Out of the 304 domestic violence cases exposed over the past two years, there were 129 cases where the courts issued restraining orders, the most common form of intervention, coming ahead of the arrest of the perpetrator (73 cases), the education of the abuser (49 cases), and the issuance of written reprimands by the police (23 cases).
Generally speaking, law enforcement officers are being more and more responsive to victims when they seek help. However, it is still far from enough. There is a shortage in the issuance of written reprimands and restraining orders. Mediation is introduced too often in dealing with individual cases, which shows law enforcement officers’ lack of awareness and knowledge of domestic violence.
In the end, the report makes some valuable suggestions to cope with the problems that have occurred during the implementation of the law. It appeals to the legislative body to set forth detailed regulations regarding the law, and to the State Council to take a leading role in improving anti-domestic violence work systems and procedures.
It further suggests that stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security should carry out awareness-raising campaigns and trainings on domestic violence, and give more support to social organisations that fight against the phenomenon.