Learning Experiences Against Sexual Assault from Taiwan September 7, 2016
By Zhang Rongli Editor: Yang Yang
Similar to any other country and region in the world, women and children in southeast China's Taiwan Province have long been beset by sexual violence.
According to data collected by local scholars, sexual assault cases in Taiwan have climbed from 776 in 1987 to 2116 in 2002, a three-fold increase in 15 years.
Moreover, under the strong pressure of public opinion, the murder of Peng Wanru a former female politician of the Democratic Progressive Party who was raped and killed in November 1996 in Kaohsiung forced the local legislative body to pass the Sexual Assault Prevention Act in January 1997. After several amendments, the law has become an important legal basis for such cases across the province.
As a special legislation to prevent sexual assaults, the law includes four characteristics.
Firstly, strengthening the main responsibility status of the government in the prevention of sexual assaults.
Meanwhile, local governments also set up prevention centers, equipped with social workers, police, medical staff and other professionals to carry out relevant work.
Next, taking preventative and control measures against sexual assault.
Given the fact that children are major victims in such cases, the law stipulates that prevention of sexual assault should be included in the national curriculum and students at primary and secondary schools across the province should accept at least four hours of relevant courses during each semester.
Thirdly, the core value orientation of the legislation is to protect the interests of victims.
For instance, the law regulates that local sexual assault prevention centers should provide 24-hour emergency assistance to the victim, enabling them to seek medical treatment and injury identification, as well as other services.
Furthermore, in order to avoid further damages to victims, the law also stipulates that such cases shall not be heard in public. At the same time, an accuser's interrogation can be executed out of court through voice or video devices so as to isolate the victim from the defendant or even the judge.
Last, taking necessary corrective action and ensuring strict control of sexual offenders.
Sexual offenders have to accept professional treatment if it is believed necessary by experts. Moreover, probation officers can be employed to take control of perpetrators who are on parole or probation.
In addition, sexual criminals' personal information should be registered at local public security organs regularly for seven years.
It is worth mentioning that organizations for the protection of women and children in Taiwan have been playing a key role in fighting against such crimes.
Taiwan's Sexual Assault Prevention Act, a law with a gender perspective, not only promotes gender equality across the province, but also plays an active role in the protection of local women and children's human rights.
(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Gender Study Network)