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Established in October 2014, Equality is a new NGO initiated by experienced feminist activists and scholars. With updated approaches, it carries on the unfinished mission of the Anti Domestic Violence Network which terminated in April 2014, and becomes one of the women’s NGO focus on gender based violence in China, the world’s most populous country with over 600 million women and girl children.


Our Vision: to build a society that women and girls enjoy equality and free from all kinds of gender-based violence.


Our mission:

Advocating for policy improvement and better law implementation;

Building capacity on awareness and know-how for related organizations and professionals, as well as activists;

Providing empowering services for women and girls, who affected by gender- based violence.

 

Anti-Domestic Violence Law of the People ’s Republic of China

Executive Summary

Assessing progress to set priorities

The Anti-Domestic Violence Law of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter Anti-Domestic Violence Law) came into effect on March 1, 2016. From that time, national and local state agencies and other responsible departments, as well as a variety of civil society organizations, have, in varying degrees, made efforts to prevent and tackle domestic violence; maintain the safety and security of victims; and protect victim’s rights and interests.

There is a critical need for monitoring reports on the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, and numerous challenges continue to challenge the law’s complete implementation. Anti-domestic violence information issued by the state-level departments are on average underreported and the quality of anti-domestic violence reporting is inadequate. Anti-domestic violence education and training are unsatisfactory; the support mechanisms, assistance measures, and services received by those impacted by domestic violence are insufficient, falling short of demand.

Beijing Equality (Chinese: Běijīng wéi píng fùnǚ quányì jīgòu 北京为平妇女权益机构 English: “Beijing Equality-for Women‘s Right and Gender”), as an important stakeholder in efforts to eradicate gender-based violence, including domestic violence, has been active in a number of areas, including legal policy promotion; training and capacity building; and helpline services. In addition, since 2017 Equality has issued periodic monitoring reports on implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law. The current report is the sixth in a series. In order to simplify reference for readers, we have kept our data collection and analysis methods consistent. This report is intended as a useful reference for researchers and practitioners, and to support promotion of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law in guaranteeing the equal rights of citizens, with particular focus on protecting women’s rights.

Scope of the report

In addition to primary source material collected by Equality, this report is based on several thousand pieces of information from several online sources: The websites of five major news media; eleven state-level government departments; the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF) and Women’s Federations in 31 provincial-level administrative regions; and six to eight online platforms of non-governmental groups.  Unless otherwise specified, all cases and data cited are in reference to events occurring within the four years between March 1, 2016 (Effective date of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law) and February 29, 2020. While the report provides a cursory overview of the last four years, greater focus is applied on the past year.

Data collection methods

Analyses were based on data retrieved from Keyword searches of three terms: “反家暴” (Fǎn jiā bào; English: “anti-domestic violence”), “家暴” (jiā bào, English: “domestic violence”) and “家庭暴力” (jiātíng bàolì, English: “domestic violence”). Organization or department websites without a search function were searched manually. The data and cases in this report, save for those quoted from credible media sources (with footnotes indicating the source), were provided by Beijing Equality and its partner organizations. The names and locations of sources are protected unless consent was given to publish. While this report is based on a prodigious quantity of data, it is lacking significant information which is not available or not provided by official sources. Shortcomings resulting from gaps in publicly available data means this report is incomplete. Disclosure of data related to domestic violence is important in the statistical power of our reporting figures.

Findings

Implementation must be fast tracked

The essence of the law lies in its enforcement. On the fourth anniversary of the implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, we have seen some progress on supporting laws and measures at the national and local levels, but there are still significant challenges. In particular, since passing of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law until December 31, 2019, 942 reported cases involving domestic violence resulted in 1,214 deaths, of which 76% of the victims were women, and nearly 7% of the victims were minors. On average, at least three women die from domestic violence every five days. There needs to be greater urgency placed on implementation of the law to save future victims.

Progress and Challenges

Improving publicity and awareness of domestic violence

From March 1, 2016 to February 28, 2020, 7401 pieces of anti-domestic violence information were published on online news media platforms; the websites of Government agencies representing local to national authorities; National and Provincial Women’s Federations; and public information platforms run by nonprofit groups. However, while the number appears remarkable, the statistical trend of published content is decreasing year on year. In the first statistical year, 3,227 pieces of information were posted, accounting for 44% of the total; in the fourth statistical year, only 815 pieces of information were published, accounting for merely 11% of the total. Furthermore, the amount of anti-domestic violence information published by the news media and women’s federations fell steeply in the second year and continued to decrease substantially in following years revealing a downward trend in promulgation of anti-domestic violence information by these institutions. This finding is made worse by urban-rural differences: Publication in urban centers accounts for 84% of total reporting, meaning rural areas are receiving little of the total information on anti-domestic violence.

Raising similar consternation is that national level institutions, of which the judiciary and government departments are central but which also includes trade unions, the Communist Youth League, the ACWF and the Disabled Persons Federation, released very little information overall. In fact, four of these organizations released only four posts and the Public Security Bureau to-date has yet to publish a single piece of information regarding the Anti-Domestic Violence Law.

Quality of reporting inadequate

In the last four years a number of high-quality, in-depth media reports were published and while the anti-domestic violence law was not explicitly listed, the reports raised attention to relevant issues: “Violence during courtship or dating”; “violence after living together”; “violence after divorce”. These reports accounted for 16% of the cases monitored in the fourth year, an increase of five percentage points from the second year. Nonetheless, on the whole, the quality of anti-domestic violence information remains inadequate. In a significant number of cases, domestic violence was conflated with general family conflicts, deflecting the narrative of violence and reframing it in the context of family harmony. These articles encouraged compromise and mediation rather than protection and prevention of violence. In other instances, media reports strengthened gender stereotypes and engaged in victim blaming. Domestic violence encountered by vulnerable groups such as sexual minorities received little attention from the mainstream media.

Improving the government system that supports anti-domestic violence work

More than 200 policy documents have been issued detailing further provisions on the implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law. In 2020, Shandong, Hubei, Hunan, and Guizhou People's Congresses have passed supporting regulations to implement anti-domestic violence laws. At the provincial level, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia have published drafts and are soliciting comments; Tibet and Ningxia have regulations on domestic violence in a revised and implemented Law on the Protection of Women ’s Rights.

However, there is a lack of comprehensive and consistent supporting policies to enforce required measures by the Law. Mandatory reporting requirements issued by  national agencies apply only to kindergarten-aged children and left-behind children; it does not cover all minors, as well as adult victims of domestic violence who are restricted partially or fully in their capacity to independently access or utilize public services. In addition, there exist no specific protection requirements in the Law for the other four groups (i.e. The elderly, handicapped, sick, or pregnant women); and as of March 2020 Beijing, Fujian, and Henan have not made transparent their supporting policy documents on implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law. Similarly, other provinces with local regulations and departmental documents have focused on some but not all  measures; for example, failing to document specific implementation requirements for shelter services and temporary assistance programs.

Conclusion

In these last four years, implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law has seen progress in certain specific areas. However, despite these welcomed changes, the reality is still far from the intended purpose of the legislation. Beijing Equality has made policy recommendations based on our findings to improve and will continue to monitor implementation of the law and encourage and support efforts from numerous parties for driving change.

Contributions and Special Thanks

Special thanks to the many people who came from domestic violence, although we can't say the names of TAs here. Thank you UNFPA Beijing Office, UN Women Beijing Office, the many women’s federation organizations and women’s federation officials, Beijing Qianqian Law Firm, Shenzhen Futian Wider Pro Bono Center, Shenzhen Pengxing Domestic Violence Protection Center, Hubei Jianli Women and Children's Rights Protection Association, the Maple Women ’s Psychological Counseling Center in BeijingYunnan Mingxin Social work Service Center, Beijing LGBT Center, Trans Center, Women's Network Against AIDS-China. We have also benefited from various contributions, including but not limited to the following persons (in no particular order): Guo Ruixiang, Yang Ruikan, Li Shuo, Wang Qing, Cai Yiping, Yuan Wenli, Lu Xiaofei, Ding Juan, Hou Zhiming, Wang Yanping, Li Lin, Xu Ting, Zhou Linke, Gong Orange, Wan Fei, Liu Ping, Lv Xiaoquan, Liu Jiajia, Long Jieyu, Feng Jiayu, You Xijia, Hai Rui, Zhang Hui, Li Meng, Liu Xizhong, Xin Ying, Qin Ye, He Shengyang, Gao Xiaofan, Xiong Qiong, Wang Xinyi, Guo Dian, He Rui. This report was written by Xia Tian and Feng Yuan. Cao Ningyu managed data collection and chart production.

 


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