340 domestic violence cases recorded in 1H19

The 3 states with the highest number of cases were Selangor with 91 cases, Pahang with 56 cases and Kedah with 34 cases

pic by AFP

AROUND 340 cases of domestic violence in Malaysia were recorded between January and June this year (1H19), with anger, misunderstandings and drug addiction attributed as leading causes.

Official statistics showed 314 cases involved female victims, while the remaining were male victims, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said.

The three states with the highest number of cases were Selangor with 91 cases, Pahang with 56 cases and Kedah with 34 cases.

Anger was identified as the main cause of domestic violence cases (85 cases), followed by misunderstanding (48 cases) and drug addiction (44 cases).

“Many families in such predicaments do not know where to go for help. Therefore, we ask the Department of Women Development to focus on awareness programmes because many victims of domestic violence do not report the cases as the perpetrator is usually the spouse or a family member,” Yeoh told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

She was responding to a supplementary question by Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad (Barisan Nasional [BN]-Parit Sulong) who inquired about measures taken by the ministry to encourage victims and the public to report domestic violence cases.

However, there were discrepancies in the data provided by the Social Welfare Department as the figure was only 10% of the 3,319 cases reported by the police, Yeoh noted.

“There is a lack of coordination here and this issue must be addressed soon,” she said.

A special committee to tackle domestic violence will be set up to address this matter, Yeoh added.

The committee, which is made up of representatives from 16 government agencies and women non-governmental organisations, will hold its first meeting on Nov 28.

A total of 5,421 domestic violence cases were reported in 2018, according to statistics from the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) based on reports made to the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).

Several amendments to the Domestic Violence Act 1994 have been put forth by the WAO, including removing children from abusive parents.

Another suggestion is to have an interim or emergency protection order to provide safety for the victim and family members involved.

“Such drastic proposals are aimed at removing the abuser from the house,” Yeoh said in response to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera).

The Domestic Violence Act 1994 was last amended in 2017 to expedite the issuance of a protection order and widen the definition of abuse to include psychological and emotional abuse.

It was previously reported that children who were exposed to domestic violence had a higher risk of developing mental health and behavioural complexities such as anxiety, depression, learning difficulties and drug abuse.

Hospital Kuala Lumpur psychiatrist Dr Sapini Yakob said there is a high possibility that these children would turn into perpetrators or victims of domestic violence in the future.

“We need to break the cycle as children who grow up in this environment view this as normal behaviour,” she said.