KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 – The Dewan Negara today unanimously approved the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2017, which aims to provide more protection to victims. Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said a Social Welfare Department (JKM) officer would decide whether to issue an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) or an Interim Protection Order (IPO) or a Protection Order (PO) for the victim.
“The validity period for an EPO is seven days, but if the violence is repeated, the victim can apply for the EPO a second time. The EPO could only be issued by the JKM officer, and it did not require a report or court order, besides being available at all times, including weekends and the middle of the night,” she said when winding up the debate on the amendment of the bill.
Rohani said this when replying to Senator Datuk Rabiyah Ali, who wanted to know the validity period of an EPO, whether a re-application could be made upon its expiry, and measures to reduce bureaucracy and red tape. Earlier, when tabling the Bill, Rohani said the amendment would also enhance protection for victims, and help restore family institutions.
She said it widened the interpretation of Domestic Violence, allowing the victim to get an IPO or PO when the perpetrator takes away the property of the victim, causing the victim to suffer from financial loss. The Domestic Violence Act 1994 (Act 521) was first enforced on June 1, 1996, and amended for the first time in 2012. — Bernama