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Just mediating will not help end to domestic violence, say experts

THE NUMBER of reported domestic-violence victims has risen by an alarming rate in the first half of this month, compared to the same period a year later, according to the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation (WMP).

“There have been 33 victims in the first two weeks of January alone,” WMP director Jadet Chaowilai said at a seminar last week.
Held by the WMP, the Alcohol Watch Network and a work panel on protecting children and youth from social risks, the seminar addressed the link between family crises and violence. 
WMP has been monitoring domestic violence from news reports for the past several years. In the first half of this month, 28 cases of domestic violence were reported. Of them, 20 were murders, four suicides and four others assault causing serious injuries. 
“Nearly half of the cases involved guns,” Jadet said, adding that 41 per cent of the cases were motivated by jealousy, while 19 per cent resulted from intoxication and drug abuse. 
“Also, the number of female victims has risen, while male victims has dropped,” Jadet said, adding that the authorities have to do more to curb – if not prevent – domestic violence. 
“Don’t just try to mediate when responding to domestic violence complaints. The police should instead try to suppress and deter the violence, otherwise the perpetrators will think they can do what they want.” 
He also suggested that the authorities do more to control people’s access to guns, and hoped the Social Development and Human Security Ministry would be more pro-active in preventing domestic violence. 
“The ministry should set up a war room and monitor each area through collaboration with relevant agencies. In cases of violence, the police should be able to arrive in time,” Jadet said. 
A 23-year-old man, who identifies himself only as Daniel, said he had no option but to kill his step-grandfather to save his grandmother from grievous harm. 
“He assaulted us every single day,” Daniel recounted, adding that this step-grandfather became even more violent after the police tried to mediate. “After the police visited us, he began using weapons on us.”
Daniel was sent to a juvenile observation and protection centre, while his grandmother received a suspended jail term. 
Amnaj Paenprasert, a core member of the Wat Pho Riang Community, said the authorities and other relevant parties should make it easier for domestic-violence victims to seek help. 
According to him, 79.4 per cent of 2,762 women covered by a 2018 survey knew the reason behind the violence at home.
“But nearly half of them believed they deserved it. This perception means nobody will dare to help these women,” Amnah said. 
Pol Colonel Padej Phubuppakarn said police usually focused on mediating family disputes and protecting victims. 
“We hope the media will not violate victims’ rights and help protect them too,” he said. 
Late last year, Women Wellbeing’s manager Dr Varaporn Chamsanit also revealed that the instances of domestic violence had risen in 2018 compared to 2017, while the perpetrators on average are getting younger. “Many youngsters use violence against boyfriends or girlfriends, not after being married for a long time,” she said. “We have also found children being sexually violated by other children.” 
According to Waraporn, it is necessary for Thai society to become aware that domestic violence can happen to anyone and it should not be tolerated. 
Her advice is: “If you witness violence, call 1300 or 191. Encourage the victims to seek help from hospitals or related foundations.” 
At the seminar, Thammasat University lecturer Asst Professor Nitida Sangsingkeo also suggested that the media should work on discouraging domestic violence and avoid sensationalising reports that might encourage assaults against women. 

Published : January 20, 2019