Welfare Dept: Do not turn a blind eye to abuse

DOMESTIC violence should not be considered a family matter, with nothing done to stop the perpetrators.

A Welfare Department (JKM) spokesman said the public could not hold on to the “mind your own business” principle when it came to domestic abuse.

“The victim may not be able to overcome the violence by themselves and may not know how to seek help or find support groups to approach.

“Society must be proactive and report domestic violence,” the spokesman urged.

“Also, the public must educate themselves on matters such as women’s rights and legal protection under the law.

“There are many seminars on such issues. Attend and learn about your rights and what to do if ever in such a situation.”

He said victims of domestic abuse could seek advice from JKM offices nationwide.

Victims can also seek shelter at any One-Stop Crisis Centre set up at all emergency departments in hospitals by Health Ministry.

Among the steps Welfare Department takes in addressing domestic abuse is producing an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) under Section 3A of the Domestic Violence Act 1994 (Act 521) for victims who come to them.

The EPO is valid for seven days and takes effect when the copy of the order is sent to the perpetrator.

JKM also assists victims to file applications for Interim Protection Order (IPO) through Section 12, Act 521 and Protection Order (PO) through Section 13 of the same Act.

It is authorised to arrange for transportation for the victim to an alternative residence or a safe place if necessary.

The department will explain the rights to be provided, with protection and even help victims who wish to go back to their homes to collect personal belongings.

Other assistance from JKM include counselling services, referring victims to agencies such as the religious office, marriage tribunal, Legal Aid Department, Syariah Court and non- governmental organisations.

JKM also refers the children from an abusive household to children’s shelter homes, under the Child Act 2001.

If necessary, JKM will provide financial assistance through General Aid, Children’s Aid and Kick Start grants to the adult victims or the children.

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