WAO Launches 30th Anniversary and Speaks About IPOs

Posted on 13 September 2012

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Plea for victims of domestic violence

Posted on 12 September 2012 - 08:54pm

Karen Arukesamy

PETALING JAYA (Sept 12, 2012): The Interim Protection Order (IPO) given to the victims of domestic violence needs to be made more effective, as at present it is not sufficient to keep the perpetrators at bay, Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) said.

Although there are laws to protect the victims and shelters for women to seek refuge, WAO said victims of domestic violence are still bogged down by weak and inconsistent standard operating procedure of the authorities.

"The IPO given to victims who seek protection is too general and not enough to ensure the victims' safety or security.

"There were times when the perpetrators had breached the IPO and caused the victims to live in fear despite having legal protection," WAO executive director Ivy Josiah told a press conference at the launch of the NGO's 30th anniversary celebrations today.

She said for the past 15 years, WAO had been pushing for a more stringent IPO and a proper procedure for the authorities to deal with victims of domestic violence.
The IPO is a temporary and urgent legal protection order that can be sought pending investigations by police for offences involving domestic violence.

"There are times when the victims get the IPO within days but sometimes it can take up to a month.

"Even then, the IPO is not very specific about the protection for the victims, for example, in terms of the distance the perpetrators have to maintain from the victims," Josiah said.

She said although violations of the IPO can be reported, the police do not have enough resources and commitment to act on such reports.

Hence, the perpetrators would ignore the IPO and continue to intimidate or harass the victims.

"This is also because the perpetrators think domestic violence means only physical abuse, but domestic violence includes attempts to control and dominate, create fear and intimidate others through violence, threats of violence, or by controlling their finances and social lives," she said.

Another major challenge for WAO is in obtaining government funds.

Noting that WAO spends RM1.2 million every year on its programmes, its president Mok Chung Lian said the government's annual grant for its programmes is less than 2% of the amount needed.

"We have to rely on public funds and raise funds ourselves to sustain our programmes," she said.

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