Abstracts & Papers in Stream 1

This panel explores some core questions such as why we should make policy interventions for prevention of domestic violence and for helping victims and victimizers, and how policies and strategies can be developed for better securing a safe life free from fear or threat of domestic/interpersonal violence. The developments and challenges of social policy and practices are an integral part of a new safer civil society in Pacific Asia.

Domestic violence occurs in the private life sphere, typically involving family and couple relationships with high intimacy. Distinctive features of DV are characterized by the diverse ways of manifestation of violence, all of them being very harmful in terms of physical, economic and/or mental damage to victims. Grave consequences of DV have already been reported globally as well as locally. However, ideological grounds, policies and strategies for coping with DV problems have not been fully explored in any society. The social makings of domestic violence are deeply rooted in the gender imbalance of power and control, and therefore the essence of domestic violence is not to be reduced into psychological or addiction problems of individual citizens. Instead, better understanding is to be broadly shared on the hierarchical values that shape patterns to one's ways of thinking and behaving in intimate relationships with others. Putting the genie of DV to bottle is the first step of freeing huge potential and emancipating people and therefore bringing the dawn of radically new human relationships and civil society.

In East Asian societies, except for Hong Kong, the laws for prevention of domestic violence came into force from the end of the twentieth century to the beginning of the twenty-first century. It implies relatively late and slow policy developments for preventing domestic violence in the light of international comparison. One of the common features among South Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese societies is that gender politics has been developing through the competitions between gender-mainstreaming direction in anti-DV policies and the patriarchal social and cultural factors. The gender-mainstreaming has being manifested in the forms of approach to and inclusion of global standards. This research discusses the policy developments in regards to prevention of domestic violence in Japan from difficulties as well as factors in making policy agenda of domestic violence. It will be argued that the anti-DV policy in Japan is functioning of maintaining the social order linked to gender inequalities and of revaluing marriage institution, rather than prompting changes in the gender hierarchy. Moreover, in this paper special attention will be drawn to the point that the policies for preventing domestic violence have been developed within the framework of the Japanese gender equality policy in which liberal feminism and the structural reforms have been combined, as pointed by Mari Osawa. In this connection, it will be explored what is implicated by the growing pressure over anti-DV social policies of the gender-bashing movements whose voices have been heard since the late 1990s in Japan. Finally, it will be discussed which alternatives are available as policy strategies for making differences in Japanese gender relations and for seeking such anti-DV policies that best advocate DV victims.

This paper aims to assess the conflicts and transformation that have appeared on the level of ideology by focusing on the location of intimacy in social policy discourse and on relations between gender and sexualities. Even the new social risk discourse that underlines the significance of balancing work and family does not straightforwardly refers to risks in the private sphere, leaving intimate violence risks unquestioned. The discussion will be started by examining the limits of mainstream approaches such as economic approach in considering social policy response to domestic violence. It will be explored why any policy response and prevention should (or should not) be made to the violence in private life sphere, how the intersectionality can be applied to policy debates concerning domestic violence in Japanese and other societies in East Asia. Whereas it is significant to mainstream gender perspectives in social policy, sexuality and ethnicity tend to be left outside the scope of gender-focused policy against domestic violence. As a consequence, anti-DV social policy may fail to be help and remedies for DV problems in minority communities. It will be argued that by incorporating the concept of intersectionality into policy debates the current anti-DV social policy will become more inclusive and useful for citizens with diverse variety of identities.

Full paper download: Takahashi M_intimate partner violence.pdf

Domestic violence is essentially evil - evil in the sense of Nicomachean Ethics that it is not the excess or deficiency where the evil dies. In the case of essential evils the case does not depend on the circumstances; one is always wrong (1107a). As there is no justification for domestic violence why is it so difficult to root it out and how to analyse that evil? Domestic violence involves intimate human relationships with a great variety of power relationships involved that often are also part of wider social networks making easy classifications of public and private or domestic and social not applicable or misleading. As an issue of great social and human significance the DV should be seen as a key political and social issue requiring efficient protection for the victims and maintaining/improving ethical standards of the society. Human rights always are a concern of the whole society and the DV cases should never be seen as "private incidents". However, for the individual also in this evil "the noblest kind of retribution is not to become like your enemy (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI 6)". Humans have a capability of understanding evil, whether through their personal experience or learning from others and this understanding opens possibilities to create a world without DV. This paper analyses the evil of domestic violence and how the political science can help to understand the power relationships involved and how to change these power relationships toward emancipatory ones that are built on social justice, equality and human dignity.

Full paper download: Mervio M_domestic violence and power relationships.pdf

This paper is oriented to explore how the DV policy and programs primarily respondent to the women might lead to the impression that DV law is a women-centered law and more like a gender exclusive law (exclude man rather than women). In fact, to reduce the DV occurrence and generation continuum, how DV law can be shaped as it be gender inclusive rather than gender exclusive? Can it be taken as a law more preventive, protective and prosecuted model (three ps' model) ? Taiwan experience will be taken as the focus of study.

The empirical data indicates that there is highly gender difference in the need of DV protection programs since the sufferings from the intimate violence are different in terms of typology of violence. In other words, the fact is that occurrence rate among men and women and the seriousness among gender intimate violence is gender asymmetrical rather than symmetrical. However, do current the programs and policy really serves for the needy women? Or can the program be effective without the strong sense" gender inclusive" built in the law and programs? In reality, the policy is harm to women or protective to women? How can be examined? P-P-P-S model ("problem defining →policy formation →program design → service delivery system model") will be utilized as a framework for analysis and discussion.

Although engendering perspective policy will be suggested, the paper recommends that to develop a more proactive and gender-neutral policy is the cue to face DV events in Asia society in the new age. The study will also suggest that to mover DV policy from gender exclusive to gender inclusive should be the needy way for Asia in particular.

In 2004, a tragedy happened in Tin Shui Wai1 had attracted many criticism on the police attitudes towards abused women and procedures in handling domestic violence cases. In the family tragedy, a new immigrant woman Ms. Kam and her two daughters were killed by her husband. It was suggested that women being silence has accelerate men's violence towards them. However, the most striking story about Ms. Kam is that she had sought help from the police prior to the tragedy. On the day Ms. Kam was killed, she had reported to the police that she was in danger, however, the duty officer in the police station just turned her away without taking any action to protect her. Even worse, no record was found in police file. Why the police did not treat the case seriously to take further actions such as sending the woman to a refuge centre for her safety, give warning or even arresting the perpetrator? Was it because the police had doubt on the victim's credibility? Or was it because the belief of deserving or undeserving victims that the police uphold in handling the case? What is a 'truth' and what is a 'lie'? Who is trustworthy or whose words are more convincing? These are the issues of belief and credibility. Credibility is socially constructed and is historically and culturally specific. This paper is based on the findings of a research study conducted between 2006 and 2008, aims to develop a dynamic understanding of women's experiences in reporting to the police, particularly on being abused by their husbands or partners, from survivors' perspectives. The study involved the interviewing of 20 women who were abused by their husband or partner, of those 14 of them had the experiences of reporting abuse to the police. In order to obtain a comprehensive view on the issue, in-depth interviews have been conducted for two polices, one male and one female, to explore why police express doubt on women who make abuse complaints. This paper also aims to discuss on how to improve the police response to domestic violence in the future.