Beijing Makes Efforts to Better Judge Domestic Violence Cases

May 15, 2018
Editor: Liu Xiaochen

Since the release of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law in 2016, Beijing Court has issued 145 personal protection orders over the past two years, according to the introduction at a recent case press conference.

The personal protection order is one of the most vital regulations in the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, which allows victims who have suffered from or are facing domestic violence to apply for protection from courts.

At the meeting, An Fengde, Deputy Dean of the Supreme People's Court in Beijing, showed that the Court has issued a total of 17,463 adjudications on divorce cases from 2016 to 2017, of which, about 1867 cases were related to domestic violence, accounting for nearly 11 percent.

Chang Hongyan, Vice-President of Beijing Women's Federation, stated that since the Anti-Domestic Violence Law has been put into practice, they have received 438 accusations in 2016 and 404 in 2017, which accounted for 18.7 percent and 15.7 percent of the annual total petitions respectively, with more than 97 percent of the cases proposed by women.

According to the accepted cases of Beijing people's courts, the majority of victims of domestic violence were women, children and the elderly. The reports of violence most commonly included assault, threats and restrictions imposed on victims. Some may even constitute criminal offenses, Shan Guojun, a presiding judge of Beijing Supreme People's Court, added.

Due to the difficulties of finding evidences to judge family violence, An stated that justices would investigate and collect evidences from parties' neighborhood committees, village committees, women's federations and neighbors; and pick up police and interrogation records from public security departments.

Aside from this, the courts should make full use of various forms of evidence such as perpetrators' written assurances, statements of repentance, audio-visual material supported by witnesses and online chat records; and judges are allowed to determine domestic violence based on their life experiences in specific cases.

When it comes to child custody, Shan said perpetrators normally would not win the right to raise the children due to their damaging behavior and potentially violent personalities and the principle of "best interests of the child" is the governing legal standard for determining custody.

"It is a general principle that victims should be granted custody. But if they don't have the ability to foster their children due to issues such as illnesses, the court will consider placing the child with the other party," Shan said.

Moreover, the official also reported that the victims of domestic violence in a divorce case are able to ask perpetrators for compensation mentally and materially, based on Article 46 of the Marriage Law and judicial explanation. The amount of indemnity will be determined by the level of violent crime and victims' injury.

(Source: Xinhua/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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