Law change 'condones' abuse
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Law change 'condones' abuse

Women's rights activists on Monday lambasted the proposed amendment to the 2007 law promoting the development and protection of families, saying the changes actually condone, rather than curb, domestic violence.

At a seminar held in Bangkok yesterday, women and children's welfare activists said that if passed, the amendment will actually weaken the family as an institution.

The 2007 family protection law currently in effect stipulates that criminal investigations into acts of domestic violence follow normal legal procedures, in which the probe is handled by the police and the assault charges stemming from domestic violence are treated as "compoundable offences".

Under the bill, assault charges from domestic violence are considered non-compoundable. However, the bill seeks to hand the power to investigate domestic violence to officials attached to the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

Naiyana Suphapueng, director of the Teeranat Foundation, which works to promote human rights and gender equality, said that although the amendment should be praised for making domestic violence-related offences non-compoundable, it also allows for domestic violence cases to be settled before criminal proceedings can begin.

"A wrongdoer can be let off the hook by a simple compromise, at the expense of the victims," she said.

Ms Naiyana also said that policymakers at the top must consider the problems at ground level and listen to public opinion on the issue.

Similarly, Family Network Foundation manager Thannitcha Limpanich said authorising social development officials to enforce the law raises questions about enforcement standards in each province.

"The amendment also fails to specify punishments for repeat offenders," she said.

Ussa Lertsrisanthad, director of the Foundation for Women, said the bill fell short of providing adequate and effective legal protection for victims.

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