Lawmakers have voted in favor of passing a bill which will criminalize acts of domestic violence. On its part, the government says that, from now on, zero tolerance will be the benchmark.
Speaking ahead of the final vote, the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture argued for nothing less than a tough stance on offenders. “It’s also important to conduct awareness and prevention efforts to lower the occurrence of domestic violence cases to zero, zero tolerance is the benchmark”, secretary Alexis Tam said.
Previous proposals put forward by the government where highly involved in controversy, with definitions such as ‘mild cases’ of domestic violence and the exclusion of same-sex couples from the legislation being questioned by both lawmakers and advocacy groups. On the issue of same-sex couples, the government’s final proposal remained mum.
However, on the question of whether or not to classify domestic violence as a public-order crime, the answer was a roaring yes. “During the discussions held (at the Legislative Assembly), it was concluded that this would be the appropriate answer to concerns expressed by the society”, said Manuel Pereira, from the Legal Affairs Bureau.
The implementation of data collection system however, raised eyebrows among some lawmakers today. On its part, the government says that the principle of confidentially will be upheld.