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



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。




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。