By: L.N. Reklai
August 31, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Palau Judiciary is responding to violence within the family very seriously, granting 94% of Domestic Abuse Restraining Orders for cases filed from 2014 to 2016.
With the enactment of Palau Family Protection Act of 2012(FPA), number of cases filed for family violence has increased dramatically. In 2013, only one case was filed and in 2016 thirty-one cases were filed.
Under FPA, some of the assistance include affected families can seek temporary or permanent protection order to prevent family violence; seek protection orders directly from the court without having to go first to police or another agency; obtaining orders 24/7 with emergency phone line to reach anytime; court officials help victims to complete application for temporary protection and court can assist with finding safe temporary accommodation for women and children while they apply for protection order. Protection orders are also free of charge.
According to a study done in 2014 on Palau Family Health and Safety, 25% of women in Palau had experience physical and/or sexual violence by a partner in their lifetime. 8% of them had such experience within last 12 months prior to interview. 66% of those that experienced violence did not seek help and most common reason cited by 45% of victims was that they believed violence with intimate partner was normal. Others were afraid they will not be believed.
Based on this survey, approximately 550 women experience violence each year yet Palau Judiciary receives only about 100 FPA criminal cases and Domestic Abuse Restraining Order Cases.
Palau Judiciary has been working with various groups and agencies to raise awareness of the Family Protection Act and is working with Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs on a 16 Days of Activism to Stop Domestic Violence.
Palau Judiciary in its press release says it’s important to spread the word that women, men, girls, and boys can apply directly to Palau Judiciary for assistance with protection orders. [/restrict]