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Published: Friday May 20, 2011 MYT 12:33:00 PM
Updated: Friday May 20, 2011 MYT 12:35:26 PM

WAO seeks to include non-physical abuse in Domestic Violence Act

PETALING JAYA: The Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) is seeking to amend the definition of the Domestic Violence Act (1994) to include psychological and emotional abuse.

Its executive director Ivy Josiah said non-physical abuse came in a multitude of forms and was hard to detect as there was no physical injury on the victim.

"Expanding the act will recognised the problem and better protect women from abuse," she told a press conference at the WAO headquarters here Friday.

She said among 125 victims seeking shelter with the organisation, 85 women or 96.6% had gone through psychological abuse from their partners, husband or family members.

She added that 88 women or 70% had sought shelter as a result of domestic violence followed by 20 women or 16% of cases involving single and pregnant women.

"There has been a dramatic increase in single and pregnant women cases from six in 2009 to 20 last year. We provide them shelter and support, regardless of their race or religion.

"We also provide victims with programmes to improve their social skills and enhance awareness for better health as well as empowerment sessions aimed at enabling survivors of violence take control of their lives," she said.

Meanwhile, Yayasan Sime Darby governing council member Datin Paduka Zaitoon Othman has extended financial support of RM720,000 for two years to enable WAO to help more women and their children who take shelter at the centre.

WAO, an independent, non-religious, non-governmental organisation committed to confronting violence against women, was established in 1982.

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