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A sorry state of affairs at shelters for domestic violence victims

By Wang Yiqing | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-26 07:01

Cai Meng/China Daily

The shelters for victims of domestic violence are supposed to be temporary havens for them where they can receive psychological support. But media reports say that such shelters seldom protect the victims adequately.

Domestic violence is a serious social problem the world over, China being no exception. According to the third Chinese women's social status survey report, which is conducted once every decade and was last released by the All-China Women Federation and National Bureau of Statistics in 2011, about 24.7 percent of married women in China face domestic violence.

China's first women's shelter was established in 1995 with the aim of helping women escape domestic violence. According to the All-China Women's Federation's statistics, there were more than 2,000 domestic violence shelters in China in 2016.

But very few such shelters provide women with adequate protection against domestic violence. According to the All-China Women's Federation, in the whole of 2015, all the shelters nationwide provided just 149 person-time shelter services. Since it was set up in 2009, the Nanjing center has provided shelter to just two victims of domestic violence.

Although the national law against domestic violence, which came into effect on March 1, 2016, clearly stipulates that the governments at county, prefecture or higher levels should establish shelters to provide temporary living assistance to victims of domestic violence, not many people are even aware of the existence of such shelters.

Although the shelters are established by the local women's federation or civil affairs department, they can only provide services such as accommodation.

Because of a limited budget and lack of professionals, very few shelters provide legal assistance or counseling to the inmates. One reason victims of domestic violence stay away from the shelters is that they have to share space with vagrants and beggars.

It is hoped that the reports will create public awareness about the condition of the shelters and propel the authorities to improve their condition.

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