Putrajaya tables amendment to Domestic Violence Act, offers wider coverage

BY RAM ANAND
The amendment introduces an Emergency Protection Order (EPO), which can be issued by a social welfare officer to protect victims from alleged abusers provided the definitions of domestic violence are met. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — The ambit and definitions of domestic violence has been extended in the government’s amended Domestic Violence Act 2017, tabled in Dewan Rakyat today.

Under the amendment, which was brought by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, definitions for domestic violence includes acts of misappropriation of the victim's property, threats that cause victims to fear their safety, and also electronic threats or communications that insults the modesty of the victim.

The amendment is expected to be debated in Parliament in the current sitting which ends on Thursday.

The amendment also introduces an Emergency Protection Order (EPO), which can be issued by a social welfare officer to protect victims from alleged abusers provided the definitions of domestic violence are met.

The EPO can be issued before a police report is lodged by the victim, and can be granted within two hours after an application is heard by the designated social welfare officer.

Those found guilty of breaking the EPO's restrictions face up to six months in prison, and may also be jailed up to a year if they commit violence on a person granted police protection.

The amendment also strengthens the Interim Protection Order (IPO), allowing part of restrictions that was previously only available in a Protection Order to be used in an IPO.