Annual report released for domestic violence assistance app

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Last August, Yuanzhong Family and Community Development Service Center, a Beijing-based NGO looking to provide legal services and address the diverse needs of victims of gender-based violence, launched China’s first domestic violence assistance WeChat applet (WeChat Mini Program). The organization recently released the first annual work report for the applet.

As of Aug 18, the total number of mini program users reached 40,100, and the users opened the applet about 65,300 times in total. On average, the applet drew about 110 new users every day, with around 178 people opening the mini program to use it.

Of the more than 40,000 users, women account for a larger proportion, averaging around 70 percent.

From the perspective of user age distribution, users between 18 to 39 years old were the most stable user group, accounting for about 75 percent.

Minors account for as high as 33 percent of those who leave messages for consultation after opening the mini program. That is to say, compared with minors, although there were more adults who open the applet, fewer people decided to ask for help, possibly due to the long-lasting taboo around talking about domestic violence.

A total of 712 registered hotline calls were made through the applet and dealt with by Yuanzhong’s volunteer lawyers. About 75 percent were domestic violence related consultations, and 8 percent were sexual harassment and sexual assault related consultations.

The mini program had received 1,254 online requests for help from all over the country, of which 33 percent were from minors. About 60 percent of the minors seeking help were female, compared to 24 percent male. While 85 percent of adults seeking help were female, compared to 11 percent male.

Among the types of requests for help, domestic violence accounted for 84.9 percent, followed by sexual harassment, sexual assault and others.

In domestic violence cases, physical violence was still most common. In addition, according to incomplete statistics collected by Yuanzhong, in about 70 percent of cases, physical violence was accompanied by mental violence such as verbal abuse, belittling, spreading rumors, and death threats. In cases where the victim was a woman, abuse, belittling, and disinformation were often accompanied by slut-shaming.

Also, cases of parent-child violence were more common and frequent than many may imagine, and the problem of children witnessing domestic violence cannot be ignored.