Report released on domestic violence protection orders in Shanghai

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Beijing Equality (为平妇女权益机构), an NGO based in Beijing dedicated to combatting gender-based violence, has just published a report on the application of domestic violence protection orders in Shanghai, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the implementation of the “Anti-Domestic Violence Law of the People’s Republic of China”.

A year ago, in March 2019, the same organization released a report on protection orders nation-wide, based on the analysis of court decisions made on 560 applications for protection orders across China. The report found that the number of applications was increasing, the applicants were diverse, and applications tended to be successful. However, it was found that some judges lacked a real understanding of protection orders, impairing their action to respond to the needs of the applicants.

The latest report looks at Shanghai in particular. It is based upon 104 judicial decisions issued by Shanghai’s District Courts between 2016 and 2019. Some of the main findings are that approximately 80% of the victims of domestic violence were female, and more than 80% of the perpetrators were male; out of the 83 cases where the form of violence was specified in the legal documents, 95% (79 cases) involved physical violence, 57% (47 cases) involved mental violence, 27% (22 cases) involved damages to property, and 8% (7 cases) involved economic abuse; out of the 82 cases specifying protection measures, 73% (60 cases) applied at least two protection measures. The measure “prohibiting the perpetrators to practice domestic violence” was most likely to be approved (62%), followed by the measure to prohibit a specific violent act (60%), and the measure “prohibiting the respondent to visit the applicant’s residence, school, workplace or other venues where the applicant regularly visits” (57%); finally, one-third of all the applications were rejected, while only 54% (49 cases) approved.

A number of problems were identified, including that the number of applications for protection orders was small, and the issuance rate was low; minors and the elderly were especially unlikely to receive adequate protection; and the requirements for evidence were in many cases unreasonably stringent, limiting the power of the protection order system. What’s more, while the police, the Women’s Federation and other relevant agencies are allowed to apply in the name of the victims of domestic violence, they generally fail to do so.

The report’s executive summary has been translated into English. You can find it here.

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