Amended Domestic Violence Act to be enforced after the Royal Assent, says Rohani

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Karim. - Facebook

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KUCHING: The Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2017, passed in the Dewan Negara, will be enforced as soon as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong gives the Royal Assent, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said.

She said the Bill sought to give more protection to the victims of domestic violence.

“The amendments to the Act are timely in view of the increasing number of domestic violence cases in the country,” she said in a statement.

“It is hoped that with the implementation of the Act, more victims would come forward to seek protection,” said Rohani who is also the Batang Lupar MP.

She said five main issues to be stressed in the Act includes the widening of the interpretation of domestic violence, emergency protection order, giving exclusive residential rights to the victims and introducing rehabilitation programme sponsored by the ministry.

Rohani explained that a Social Welfare Department officer would decide whether to issue an emergency protection order (EPO) or an interim protection order (IPO) or a protection order (PO) for the victims.

“The validity period for an EPO is seven days, but if the violence is repeated, the victim can apply for the EPO a second time,” she added.

She said the EPO could only be issued by the officer, and it does not require a report or court order, besides being available at all times, including weekends and the middle of the night.

Rohani said in enforcing the Domestic Violence Act against an accused person, it will be read together with Section 326A of the Penal Code where the mandatory penalty will be double against those who commit the domestic violence to the former husband, wife, children and other family members.

The minister thanked women non-governmental organisations such as National Council of Women’s Organisation (NCWO), Gender Action Group, Women’s Aid Organisation, Women’s Centre for Change Penang and Tenaganita which have worked with the ministry to enable the amendments to be approved. –