Jakarta steps up efforts to protect women, children
The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta administration has earned praise for issuing Gubernatorial Regulation No. 48/2018 on safe houses for children and women who are victims of violence.
The safe houses, whose locations are confidential, allow victims to get maximum protection from perpetrators. They also offer counseling and legal assistance.
Since being launched in May, two safe houses administered by the city have housed 79 victims out of 1,510 residents who reported their cases to the administration.
Once the reports are examined, the authorities will decide whether to send victims to a safe house, which is guarded 24 hours a day, or not.
“Not all of the women and children, who are victims violence, will be automatically housed in the safe houses. It depends on their need,” Tuty Kusumawati, the head of the city’s Child Protection and Empowerment and Population Control Agency (PPAPP), told The Jakarta Post on Saturday, adding that 52 percent of the 1,510 victims were children and the rest were adults.
This year’s figure is an increase from last year, when 1,217 cases were reported.
Tuty, however, said violence against children and women had not increased in Jakarta as the spike could be “due to the victims becoming more courageous and speaking out”.
The city plans to add more safe houses in five municipalities across the capital next year.
Jakarta was ranked the world’s ninth-worst megacity for women in a survey released by the Thomson Reuters Foundation last year, which measured the prevalence of sexual violence, harmful cultural practices and access to health care and economic opportunities.
A study commissioned by the United Nations Women Asia Pacific in three municipalities —South, East and West Jakarta — found that women were vulnerable to street crime and sexual violence in public spaces.
According to the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), the prevalence of sexual harassment in Jakarta was among the highest in Indonesia. Throughout 2016, the commission reported 13,602 cases of violence against women nationwide, 2,552 of which occurred in Jakarta.
Komnas Perempuan commissioner Indriyati Suparno said victims of sexual or domestic violence were often reluctant to report cases to law enforcement officials because of bureaucratic red tape or the inappropriate treatment they have to endure.
For example, investigators would often ask them whether they went out at night or what type of dress they wore at the time of the incident instead of focusing on the case, Indriyati added.
“The presence of safe houses should be appreciated. But what is more important is the legal assistance and counselling the victims get from the administration,” she said, adding that similar houses were already present in several other provinces, including Central Java and Yogyakarta.
Tuty said the PPAPP was working on integrating the reports it received from the Jakarta Police, which would enable them to be used by the police to investigate cases without having to ask the victims the same questions.
“Since September, we have also cooperated with the Ancol Recreational Park in [North Jakarta] to allow victims to visit the site as part of an attempt to help them overcome their trauma,” she added.
In May last year, the administration issued a regulation that allows women who are victims of sexual violence to be examined for free at hospitals.
The exam is a crucial element for victims to file police reports.
This article was originally published in The Jakarta Post's print edition on Dec. 3, 2018, with the title "Jakarta steps up efforts to protect women, children".
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