“Domestic violence witness is also the victim”, Legislation set to Protect Children Needs to be Considered
Key words: Juvenile Protection, Domestic Violence, Psychological Trauma
It is reported that the Measures for the Implementation of the Law of the people’s Republic of China on Anti-domestic Violence in Guangdong Province was submitted to the 22nd session of the Standing Committee of the 13th Provincial People’s Congress for consideration on July 28th, 2020. Considering the protection of minors who witness domestic violence, the draft proposes that minors who witness domestic violence are victims of domestic violence. In addition, the draft stipulates that schools and kindergartens should carry out publicity and education on self-protection awareness of students and children for different ages, so as to improve their self-protection ability.
“Juvenile Protection Law”, “Law on the Protection of Women and Children”, “Marriage Law” and “Anti-domestic violence Law” can be understood as laying a good and practical foundation for the protection of minors. Now, the latest legislation of Guangdong Province will create a more complete legal protection barrier for minors.
Objectively speaking, this high-profile draft is not perfect. The legislative rank is too low and the scope of effect is too narrow. However, this is the embodiment of unremitting efforts from national legislation to local legislation. This makes the public feel that the legal barriers against domestic violence have become more and more detailed, and citizens have stronger confidence in protecting the rights and interests of minors.
The draft includes minors who witness domestic violence into the scope of legal protection. This step is a major measure to protect minors according to law and reflects the law’s scientific and reasonable progress. Admittedly, minors who witness domestic violence are not direct victims of domestic violence, and they do not suffer substantial physical injuries most of the time. Nevertheless, the subtle influence of witnessing domestic violence in the long term will not only cause psychological trauma to children but will also form rebellious characters. As they grow up, these psychologically injured children will develop a tendency towards violence, which ultimately leads to negative impacts to the society. Therefore, minors who witnessed domestic violence should not be ignored. Instead, special attention should be paid to the problem of domestic violence, and legislative actions to protect minors should be taken.