Family Violence Law takes a historical step forward for women’s and children’s protection

Date: Friday, March 4, 2016

Joint Statement

English | 中文

Beijing, China – The UN System in China welcomed the entering into force of the Family Violence Law on March 1, marking a significant step in preventing and protecting victims of family violence in the country.

Adopted at the 18th Session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on 27 December 2015, the law prohibits family violence, defined as physical, emotional and other behaviors in the form of beating, binding, mutilation and restriction of personal freedom as well as constant insulting and intimidation between family members.

“This landmark piece of legislation represents a critical step forward in protecting the rights and dignity of family violence victims, particularly women, children, elderly and persons living with disabilities,” said Rana Flowers, the Co-Chair of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on the Law and Representative of UNICEF.

Julia Broussard, the other Co-Chair of the Task Force and Country Programme Manager for UN Women added: “The UN remains committed to continuing to work with the Government to enforce and to help build the needed systems to protect those affected by violence within the family.”

In China, once considered a “family matter”, the issue of family violence has received growing attention, especially given increased media reporting on individual cases. Evidence clearly demonstrates that family violence can have a devastating impact in the family. Violence against children and women is rooted in and reproduces power imbalances in family and society.

Almost one in four married Chinese women have experienced domestic violence, according to the Third Survey on Chinese Women’s Social Status conducted by the All-China Women’s Federation.But as it is generally the case, this figure is likely underreported, since many women victims of domestic violence choose to remain silent or even regard violence as a normal aspect of married life. Given the lack of comprehensive data on violence against children, it is also difficult to determine the scale of the problem and design an effective and comprehensive response.

The law, which was the result of many years of efforts by various organizations, emphasizes the importance of prevention first, establishes a mandatory reporting system for family violence and obliges law enforcement officers to intervene immediately when a report is filed and helps streamline the process for obtaining protection orders from the courts, resulting in the provision of more channels for domestic violence victims to receive assistance. It also extends coverage to include unmarried couples that cohabitate, thus acknowledging changes in family structure.

The UN Inter-Agency Task Force, co-chaired by UN Women and UNICEF, and including UNFPA, UNESCO, UNDP, ILO and WHO, was set up in May 2012. It worked extensively with the Government of China on preparing the legislation. Technical assistance from within the UN and global experts has focused on how to include prevention of family violence and protection and assistance to victims, to punish and rehabilitate perpetrators, as well as highlighted the different practices countries have adopted to ensure the respect, protection and fulfillment of the rights of victims of family violence in national court proceedings and the ensuing rehabilitation and integration services.

The UN Country Team in China commends the Government for enacting this historical legislation and looks forward to support its implementation.

English | 中文

联合声明

《中华人民共和国反家庭暴力法》实施:中国迈出妇女儿童保护的历史性一步

2016年3月4日,北京 -《中华人民共和国反家庭暴力法》于3月1日起正式实施,联合国驻华系统对此表示欢迎。该法律的实施标志着政府在预防家庭暴力和保护家庭暴力受害者方面迈出了重大的一步。

该法律于2015年12月27日第十二届全国人民代表大会常务委员会第十八次会议表决通过。它严禁一切家庭暴力,包括家庭成员之间以殴打、残害、限制人身自由以及经常性谩骂、恐吓等方式实施的身体、精神等侵害行为。

联合国《反家庭暴力法》跨机构工作组联合主席、联合国儿童基金会驻华代表花楠表示:“这部具有里程碑意义的法律是在保护家庭暴力受害者,尤其是妇女、儿童、老人和残障人士的权益和尊严方面迈出的重要一步。”

该跨机构工作组另一联合主席、联合国妇女署中国区主任汤竹丽补充指出:“联合国将持续致力于与中国政府的紧密合作,促进该法的实施并帮助建立必要的支持系统,保护受到家庭暴力影响的人群。”

在中国,家庭暴力曾经被认为是“家务事”。 随着媒体对个体案例报道的不断增多,现在这一问题得到了越来越多的关注。有证据表明,家庭暴力可能给家庭带来毁灭性的影响。对儿童和妇女的暴力行为根源在于家庭和社会的权力关系失衡,并且这些暴力行为进一步加剧了这一失衡。

根据中华全国妇女联合会第三期中国妇女社会地位调查显示,近四分之一的已婚中国女性都经历过家庭暴力。但这一数据可能是不完全统计,因为很多家庭暴力受害者选择沉默,甚至有人认为暴力是婚姻生活的正常组成部分。此外,目前尚缺乏针对儿童的暴力的全面数据,因此我们很难衡量儿童遭受家庭暴力问题的规模,从而设计一套全面有效的应对措施。

该法律是多年来有关各方共同努力的成果,强调了预防优先的重要性,建立了家庭暴力强制报告机制,并规定执法人员在收到报告后应立即进行干预。该法律还明确了从法院申请人身安全保护令的流程,为家庭暴力受害者提供了更多支持和救助渠道。另外,它还涵盖了未婚同居伴侣,反映了中国家庭结构的变化。

由联合国妇女署及联合国儿童基金会共同牵头,联合国人口基金、联合国教科文组织、联合国开发计划署、国际劳工组织和世界卫生组织共同参与的联合国《反家庭暴力法》跨机构工作组于2012年5月成立。该工作组与中国政府紧密合作开展了大量立法准备工作,联合国及国际专家在围绕如何预防和制止家庭暴力、保护受害者、惩处施暴者,在司法程序中尊重和保障受害者权益,以及后期康复和重返社会等方面提供了技术支持。

联合国驻华系统对中国政府实施这部具有重大意义的法律表示赞赏,并将积极协助其落实工作。