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Academics call for new agency to deal with domestic violence

Thai authorities should tackle the issue of domestic violence by finding an agency to host and be responsible for rehabilitation programmes for violent offenders, academics said at a Bangkok seminar yesterday.



These offenders should be obliged to submit to the rehab programmes on a voluntary or obligatory basis, they said.

Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University's human ecology lecturer Boonserm Hutapaet cited research from Thailand and other countries that domestic violence stemmed from men's desires to assert their power in controlling family members.

This mental state that accepted such violence could be taught from generation to generation.

Thailand has a Protection of Domestic Violence Victims Act 2007, which requires offenders to undergo rehabilitation programmes and has case procedures that differ in method and steps from the criminal codes.

However, she said the law was not seriously enforced because of the lack of a directly responsible agency, and after cases were settled the offences were often repeated.

It was important for offenders to submit, voluntarily or otherwise, to a rehabilitation programme to prevent them from repeating the offences, she said.

Boonserm cited an American model of a rehab programme process aimed at boosting co-existing knowledge with family and society and gender equity acceptance.

After an incidence of domestic violence, a court's restraining order would protect the victim and have the offender submit to the programme, in which multi-professional experts would assess the offender's degree of violence and a course of action leading to the behaviour changing.

The programme also followed through if the offender repeated the action and each programme varied from two to 52 weeks, depending on individual cases. She urged agencies to integrate to tackle the issue at the roots and rehabilitate offenders.

The president of the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women, Pensri Pichaisanit, said society must accept that domestic violence no longer was a personal issue as many presumed, but a crime that all had to watch out for and report to police or Prachbodi Centres.

Parents should teach boys to respect women's rights and equity to lessen future incidents, Pensri said.


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