Guideline Urges Murder Trials for Fatal Domestic Violence

March 5, 2015
Editor: Amanda Wu

People committing domestic abuse which leads to death should be charged with murder while the law should show leniency to long-time victims of domestic violence who kill their abusers, according to a guideline released by Chinese authorities on March 4, 2015.

The guideline, which is China's first comprehensive judicial document on domestic violence, was jointly released by the Supreme People's Court (SPC), the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice.

Those who abandon their babies or cause death by refusing to fulfill necessary child support obligations may also be charged with murder, it said.

The guideline stressed intensified judicial intervention in cases of domestic violence, which is traditionally considered in China as a private matter that should be kept within the family.

The judicial system should respond to domestic violence promptly and effectively, it said.

It placed responsibility for responding with the department which first receives the report -- whether it's the police, procuratorates or the courts -- either by opening a file or handing it over to other relevant departments.

The document said that acts stopping ongoing violence in the family, as long as they are in line with the Criminal Law, can be justified as self-defense and exempted from criminal charges.

The order to show leniency to long-time victims of domestic violence who kill their abusers "doesn't mean that we encourage women to get rid of domestic violence through violence," said Yang Wanming, president of the first criminal court of the SPC, adding that they should first resort to the legal system to protect their rights.

According to the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), nearly 25 percent of Chinese women have suffered domestic violence in their marriage.

A 2010 survey by the ACWF and the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that 33.5 percent of girls and 52.9 percent of boys polled had received "physical punishment" from their parents in the 12 months before the poll.

Meanwhile, 13.3 percent of Chinese elders have suffered abuse at the hands of family, according to a survey cited by China Central Television in November.

China's first bill against domestic violence is likely to be put for first reading in August, Fu Ying, spokesperson with the third session of the 12th National People's Congress, told a press conference on March 4.

(Source: Xinhua)

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