Domestic violence law ‘fails to provide victim protection’

Domestic violence law 'fails to provide victim protection'
Pareena: Law relies on reconciliation
Pareena: Law relies on reconciliation

Despite the Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act having been introduced 16 years ago, the law still fails to provide adequate protection for those suffering abuse at home, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were told at a recent seminar.

One of the attendees, identified as Miss A, said that as a victim of domestic violence, she wanted the law to protect people like her from their abusers more effectively while also helping them with their overall well-being.

Miss A said she was often abused by her husband, a foreigner with whom she has been married for 13 years, despite a court order prohibiting him from drinking alcohol.

Despite the violence that forced her to leave with her son and caused her permanent trauma, she said she was denied help by the authorities when she asked for it.

Many experts at the seminar agreed the law has many flaws that leave victims feeling insecure after calling for help.

Asst Prof Pareena Sriwanit, dean of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Law, said the act caused a spike in the number of victims coming forward with complaints. Still, she said it is not victim-centric enough to fully protect them.

“The act also relies heavily on reconciliation between the victim and the abuser, which does not help much with the victim’s protection,” she added.

Busayapa Srisompong, a founder of SHero Thailand, a group that helps victims, said domestic violence is perceived as a “minor” matter, resulting in more cases being swept under the carpet.

Usa Lertsrisantad, director of the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women, added the law does not include a victim protection system, which undermines victims’ sense of security.

She called for authorities to make domestic violence a national agenda item and deal with it as quickly as possible.