PETALING JAYA: Domestic violence is the main cause for divorce among women who sought help from Telenisa, a legal aid clinic run by Sisters in Islam (SIS).
Up to 24% of the divorce cases handled by Telenisa last year were due to domestic violence.
Psychological abuse remained the most cited form of domestic violence with up to 38%, followed by physical abuse at 30%.
Other forms of domestic violence reported to Telenisa included financial abuse (12%), child abuse (8%) and marital rape (2%).
“Last year, Telenisa received 216 cases of domestic violence. Domestic violence comprises any form of physical and psychological violence and abuse.
“Women are becoming more aware of the constitution and are now standing up for their rights,” said Sisters In Islam Advocacy, Legal Services and Research manager Shareena Sheriff during the launch of the 2017 Telenisa statistics and findings.
The event was held in conjunction with International Women’s Day yesterday.
Last year, Telenisa also recorded an increase of women initiating divorce through fasakh – a method of divorce initiated by Muslim women and granted through a court order – from 62 in 2016 to 137.
“We believe the rise in the number of clients seeking divorce is because women are more confident.
“The surge in clients can also be attributed to social media channels, with the launch of Telenisa’s Facebook page, mobile legal clinics and various awareness programmes,” she said.
However, many women, she said, were often frustrated by the justice system.
“Many of the cases that Telenisa handles get caught at the Syariah Court level for years, causing and often prolonging unnecessary trauma to the women,” said Shareena.
While most of Telenisa’s clients fell under the income bracket of between RM2,501 and RM5,000, she said 15% earned RM5,000 and above.
“Many women, including educated women with a high earning power, undergo problems in their marriage.
“Our findings prove that marital issues can be found within all walks of life,” said Shareena, adding that Telenisa clients were mostly from the Klang Valley.