The Ministry of Public Security confirmed yesterday that police will handle
cases of domestic violence differently to regular family disputes.
The move is part of a regulation to be issued by the ministry on how to deal
with family violence, and it aims to better protect victims, a document from the
ministry's public security management bureau, said.
The document said the setting of a new case type would help the police better
understand the severity of such incidents so they might take appropriate and
Police generally treat domestic violence as a family dispute, and are
therefore sometimes slow to react. To redress that, the regulation places a
legal duty on the police to assist victims and stipulates that police response
must be immediate or they will face punishment.
from the All-China Women's Federation show that about 30 percent of Chinese
families, some 80 million, have experienced domestic violence. About a quarter
of the 400,000 divorces registered each year result from family violence.
Besides, the federation has received about 50,000 reports of domestic
violence over the past two years, with an annual growth rate of 70 percent.
"Women are the victims in most cases," Mo Wenxiu, the federation's
Figures from police in Shenzhen, South China, show that in the first half of
this year, 26 people died as a result of domestic abuse - 13 percent of all the
deaths resulting from crime.
However, although China has laws and regulations concerning domestic
violence, they lack details for prevention and punishment.
The traditional idea is that family violence is a private matter and the
variables involved prevent effective policing, Liu Bohong, deputy director of
the Women's Studies Institute of China, said.
"But violence is not a private issue, it is a crime."
Liu said the regulation to be issued takes a practical approach to how police
should handle family violence.
Li Meijin, a professor with the Chinese People's Public Security University,
said the new rules send a clear signal: "Those who commit domestic violence must
However, Liu said police intervention alone was not enough. She said many
victims were unwilling to turn to the police, so communities should play a
She said the country should also consider how to help victims escape abuse,
and pointed to the shelter that was set up by the Ministry of Civil Affairs last
year in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, to offer temporary help for run-away female
Liu said that sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse should also
be classed as domestic violence.
(China Daily 08/02/2007 page3)