The Malaysian Domestic Violence Act 1994: An Overview

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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
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , The Malaysian Domestic Violence Act 1994

Dr. Wan Izatul Asma Wan Talaat

Corporate Communication and External Affairs Division, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu
Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia

Dr. Wan Izatul Asma binti Wan Talaat is an Associate Professor of Law at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. She is currently seconded to the Office of the Vice Chancellor to head the Corporate Communication and External Affairs Division with the main task to enhance the university’s public and international relations. Her research interest is primarily in Commercial Law particularly on Law of Contract and Consumer Contract, Marine Insurance and Women’s Legal Right. Her works have been published in a number of national professional and refereed journals such as the Malayan Law Journal, Current Law Journal and INSAF (Journal of the Malaysian BAR). Internationally, she also publishes her paper in the Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce and Journal of International Maritime Law, among others. Associate Professor Dr. Wan Izatul Asma has also written a fair share of papers, which she presented at both international and national conferences. In addition to that, she has also contributed as co-author in a number of papers.

Prof. Shaik Mohd Noor Alam S.M. Hussain

Legal Director, Chancellory, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia

Prof Dr Shaik Mohd Noor Alam is a professor of Law at Universiti Putra Malaysia. His research interest includes Contract Law, Commercial Law, Legal Rights and Consumer Protection Laws.

Junaidah Abd Karim

Lecturer, Department of Management and Marketing
Faculty of Management and Economics, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia

Junaidah is a Law Lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. She holds a
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.

Ref: I08P0409