Women’s Aid Organisation says Putrajaya needs to be more pro-active.
This year, WAO received only RM30,000 to carry on with its efforts to champion women’s rights, said the organisation’s executive director, Ivy Josiah.
She called on the government to muster the political will to be pro-active in the protection of women, adding that while the Welfare Department and the police had stations all over the country, they lacked the resources to combat crimes against women.
“Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should pay attention to this,” she said.
Josiah was speaking at a press conference where she announced that WAO would celebrate its 30th anniversary on Sept 30 with a festival that will feature a jumble sale, a concert of 1980s music and other activities. Pesta WAO will take place between 11am and 5pm at a field opposite the WAO office in Section 14, Petaling Jaya.
The movement also announced its Twitter handle, @womansaidorg, and called on members of the public to tweet it if they come across incidents of domestic violence.
WAO’s statistics indicate that 40% of Malaysian women are subject to abuse and only 10% of this are reported.
The press conference was told that police inaction was partly to blame and that the situation had not improved much through the years.
“In the past,” said WAO vice president Vivienne Lee, “when a woman tried to lodge a police report, their remark would be that it was a private matter. Nowadays, the officers would simply ask the victim whether she needed the police to accompany her home after lodging her report.”
The biggest challenge for victims of domestic violence, however, is the interim protection order.
The order, which is meant to restrain perpetrators, is too brief, according to WAO.
“The order basically simply states that A cannot be violent to B,” Josiah said. “In western countries, the order is very detailed. For instance, it restricts a person from being within a certain distance from the victim.”