The silent epidemic: How obedience, privacy keep domestic violence hidden
SHAH ALAM - The increase in domestic violence cases is a long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to various problems, including socio-economic issues.
Selangor Executive Councillor for Women Empowerment and Social Welfare Anfaal Shaari said that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had identified that individuals facing economic pressure and unemployment were more likely to commit violence.
She noted that domestic violence is still a taboo subject among society, viewed as a privacy issue, and women face dilemmas because some of them remained obedient to their husbands even when subjected to mistreatment and oppression.
"This situation prevents neighbours and the community from functioning to ensure the safety of victims in domestic violence cases," she told Sinar earlier today.
She made these comments in response to the statement by Selangor Police Chief Datuk Hussein Omar Khan, who reported that Selangor recorded the highest number of domestic violence cases in the country over the past three years.
For the period from January to August this year, 813 domestic violence cases were reported in Selangor.
Therefore, Anfaal, who is also the State Assemblyman for Taman Templer, advised victims to bravely report to the authorities to prevent ongoing victimisation.
"If it is difficult to take this step, speak to someone close or seek counseling and advice through the government-provided helplines," she said.
She added that the state government had introduced the SELamat hotline specifically for domestic violence, managed by Wanita Berdaya Selangor (WBS) at 03-64195027.
Anfaal said the hotline offers two types of counseling or psychological services, either face-to-face or online, conducted by certified counselors.
Cases received will be handled in collaboration with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), shelters, and related agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare (JKM), Selangor State Health Department (JKNS), hospitals, and the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), following the Domestic Violence Case Handling Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Women, Family, and Community Development (KPWKM).
"The Selangor government has collaborated with shelters by providing grants to nine shelters, with a total allocation of RM180,000 to provide temporary protection to victims," she said.
In addition, she said that 53 cases of domestic violence had been reported through the SELamat hotline, with psychological violence cases being the highest.
"Cases handled through the SELamat hotline will be referred to as reference cases, and according to statistics, the highest referral cases are for counseling and referrals to JKM," she said.
She added that the state government had also established the Domestic Violence Committee (KRT) and provided the Selangor State Legal Aid Fund to assist women earning RM5,000 or less who face domestic violence issues in obtaining syariah legal aid.
"Through WBS, the state government also conducts advocacy and training programmes, including the implementation of the Basic Community Mediation and Family Support Course.
"God willing, Selangor will continue to implement more initiatives and programs to strengthen families with religion, noble values, and Eastern values as the main foundation," she said.