The Malaysian Domestic Violence Act 1994: An Overview
Domestic violence is generally defined as physical, sexual, financial as well as psychological abuse directed towards one’s spouse, partner, or other family members within the household. Domestic violence (sometimes referred to as domestic abuse) was initially declared as a “social concern”. Attention to domestic violence began in the women's movement as concern about wives being battered by their husbands, and has remained a major focus of modern feminism, particularly in terms of "violence against women". In Malaysia, this has led to the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act 1994 (DVA), which was only implemented beginning June 1996. Under the Malaysian DVA, domestic violence includes the following acts: (i) Willfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place the survivor in fear of physical injury; (ii) Causing physical injury to the survivor by such an act that is known, or ought to have been known would result in physical injury; (iii) Compelling the survivor by force or threat to engage in any conduct or act, sexual or otherwise, from which the survivor has a right to abstain; (iv) Confining or detaining the survivor against the survivor's will; and (v) Causing mischief or destruction or damage to property with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause distress or annoyance to the survivor. When the Malaysian DVA was first enacted, there was much fervour amongst the women’s movement that it would act as an efficient catalyst to reduce cases of domestic abuse in Malaysia. This paper aims to firstly look into whether the DVA is sufficient to combat cases of domestic abuse in Malaysia and, if there are found to be loopholes, to subsequently propose reforms to the DVA.
Keywords: Domestic Volience Act, Malaysia, Combat, Domestic Abuse
Dr. Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat
Corporate Communication and External Affairs Division, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu
Prof. Shaik Mohd Noor Alam S.M. Hussain
Legal Director, Chancellory, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Junaidah Abd Karim
Lecturer, Department of Management and Marketing
Bachelor of Laws with Honours Degree from the University of Kent at
Canterbury, UK and a Master of Laws Degree from the Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia. Her area of specialisation includes Commercial Law, Law of
Contract, Labour Law, Company Law and Partnership. Her research interest
covers consumerism, gender equality and industrial relations. She has
completed and presented a number of papers at national seminars.