Deal Pledges ‘Safe Havens,’ Support for Domestic Abuse Victims

The Jakarta Globe

The Social Affairs Ministry and the Witness and Victim Protection Agency on Tuesday announced they were teaming up to provide safe havens for domestic abuse victims and others vulnerable to abuse.

Harry Hikmat, the ministry’s director of children’s services, told the Jakarta Globe that his office had signed an agreement with the agency, as known as the LPSK, on Monday to provide social services for witnesses and victims of certain crimes.

“We need each other to implement social rehabilitation for victims and witnesses of certain criminal acts such as domestic violence,” he said.

“The ministry can provide the facilities such as rehabilitation centers, while the LPSK has a stronger legal basis to provide protection.”

Harry acknowledged that the ministry’s own mandate to offer protection to victims and witnesses was weak.

“Although the 2004 Law on the Elimination of Domestic Abuse allows for us to offer temporary protection for up to seven days, sometimes family members of the victim or witness refuse to allow government to get involved,” he said.

“Therefore the LPSK’s involvement will be much needed.” He said that victims of domestic violence would be placed in protection centers provided by the ministry.

“Female victims will be placed in the women’s protection center, while children will be placed in the juvenile protection center,” he said.

“Juvenile victims will also get psychological and physical check-ups, then we’ll follow up with a case discussion and protection plan, including the issue of custody and education, because we don’t want the children to have their studies disrupted.”

Harry added that during their stay in the protection centers, the adult victims and witnesses would get skills training.

“The government will also give them start-up capital of Rp 5 million to Rp 10 million [$585 to $1,170], depending on their skills,” he said.

“Once they’re ready to go back into society, their skills will allow them to create their own jobs and be financially independent.”

There were more than 105,000 reports of abuse of women last year, according to the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) and its partners nationwide, 96 percent of which were incidents of domestic violence.

Sri Nurherawati, a commissioner in charge of recovery, said the government must make sure there is strong legal protection for victims of domestic violence under the terms of the new MoU.

“The implementation of the MoU will be successful only if the victims’ rights can be fully respected, be it the right to the truth, to rehabilitation or to justice,” she said.

“They must be free from any abuse and terror before and after the legal process is done, and they must be allowed to go back into society without any stigma for being victims of domestic violence. They must be entitled to their full social, cultural and economic rights.”

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