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Official: Chinese Domestic Violence Complaints Rising

A government-affiliated All China Women's Federation (ACWF) senior official said Wednesday that complaints of domestic violence in China is on the rise and needs to be addressed with more effective measures.

Mo Wenxiu, vice chairman of the ACWF, said that last year the Federation received 50,000 complaints regarding domestic violence, and that the number has increased by 70 percent over the previous year.

"Chinese women, especially those living in rural regions, are susceptible to family violence. Increasing cases of brutal abuse are causing female victims to fight violence with violence," Mo said.

Mo also noted that the Federation's most recent study showed approximately 46 percent of the 513 female convicts in one provincial prison were victims of family violence.

"The effect of domestic violence is malignant and far-reaching, and the problem needs to be addressed by integrated efforts from the Women's Federation and other government agencies," she said.

Mo was speaking at a Sino-Australian training workshop on domestic violence that opened in the northeast China city of Shenyang on Monday. The ACWF and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission of Australia (HREOCA) organized the workshop.

Traditionally, mediation has been recommended for spousal abuse cases because Chinese people are accustomed to keeping family problems private. But many experts now advise that the police, the judiciary and other civil affairs authorities need to be more active in preventing and fighting domestic violence.

Tania Marie Farha, a member of Australia's Victoria State Police Administration, said changes had occurred in the fight against domestic violence in Australia because the police and the women's services began to work together to provide an integrated, cross-government response.

Coordination between different services produced more efficient and effective protection for the victims, she noted.

The ACWF has set up 10,000 organizations across the country to provide counseling, awareness and legal aid to women.

China's marriage law of 2001 gives victims the right to official protection and outlines punishments for abusers. In 2005, an amendment to the law covering the protection of women's rights stipulated that the government was also responsible for preventing and curbing family violence.

(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2007)

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