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Beaten spouses get protection

(Global Times)

13:18, September 03, 2012

Victims of domestic violence who have filed for divorce will now be able to obtain a restraining order that will prevent an assailant from approaching a brutalized spouse.

The Shunyi District People's Court announced Friday that it started on a trial basis to issue restraining orders to protect victims of domestic violence who are involved in divorce proceedings, the Beijing Youth Daily reported Saturday.

The court's move is based on a notice issued by the Supreme People's Court in March 2008, which stipulates that victims of domestic violence could apply to the court for protection of their personal safety.

Yang Xiuzhi, a media officer of the Shunyi court, told the Global Times Sunday that the court is the first in Beijing to provide such protection to victims of the domestic violence who are involved in a divorce, although some other courts in the country are issuing restraining orders.

"Victims can apply for protection only when they file the case to the pilot court," she said.

"One highlight is the prohibition on approaching the victim within a certain distance, such as at their residence or work place," said Yang.

Wang Xingjuan, president and founder of the Maple Women's Psychological Counseling Center in Beijing, told the Global Times that issuing restraining orders is a sign of progress in a court system that still has limitations.

"The orders are only issued in divorce case, and should be more widely-applied," she said, adding that victims of domestic violence who have not filed for divorce can not apply for a restraining order.

Ni Sen, 28, said she welcomed the court's move to protect victims of domestic violence, but worried it may be hard to enforce.

"Who will show up to protect the victim if the perpetrator appears within a range of 50 to 200 meters?" the Beijing resident told the Global Times. "I hope the court will ensure effective implementation."

At least nine courts nationwide began issuing restraining orders in 2008, including Chong'an District People's Court in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province and Yuzhong District People's Court in Chongqing, the Legal Mirror reported.

Li Yang, the wealthy founder of "Crazy English," made headlines in December last year after his American ex-wife, Kim Lee, posted on Sina Weibo pictures of bruises she alleged were caused by Li.

Kim told the Global Times that she was very pleased with the court's move. "Women have a tool to make men think harder about their action."

China has yet to draft an independent law on domestic violence. Only a few of the country's laws, such as the Marriage Law, have addressed the crime.

This spring, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress was set to consider such a law, but no timetable regarding when it might be written and enacted has been set.

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