The government should not wait for another International Women’s Day to implement legislation against stalking and harassment, which should have already been promulgated to help people living in fear, the New Power Party (NPP) said yesterday.
Aside from drafting a bill, the NPP has also proposed amendments to Article 89 of the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法) to stipulate heavier fines for people convicted of stalking.
NPP Chairwoman Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said that the proposed amendment would list types of behavior that should be subject to punishment.
The fine for those found guilty of such behavior should be raised from NT$3,000 to NT$12,000, Chen said.
“We urge the Executive Yuan to quickly propose its version of the anti-stalking and harassment act, as this is the fundamental solution to curb these offenses,” she said.
Taiwan has not made any progress creating legislation against stalkers and harassers in the past few years, NPP caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said.
“We hope that lawmakers who were elected or re-elected last year would complete such legislation before their terms end in 2024,” Chiu said.
There are 15 versions of a draft act proposed by lawmakers in the past year, including the one proposed by the NPP, Chiu said, adding that this shows lawmakers have reached a consensus on the importance of such legislation.
While the government last year recorded more than 7,600 cases involving stalking, harassment or pestering, the Criminal Code, the social order act and the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (家庭暴力防治法) leave little room for police to intervene, making it necessary to stipulate a specific law to curb such offenses, Chiu said.
Japan passed its Anti-Stalking Act in 2000, while the German Act on Protection Against Violence — promulgated in 2001 — lays down clear rules for protecting people from stalking, Chiu said.
“In many cases, victims were followed and harassed before they were murdered. We hope that an anti-stalking and harassment act would be quickly stipulated to save people from living in fear, and protect them from physical harm,” he said.
NPP Legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭) said that behavior that constitutes stalking or harassment should be based on subjective perceptions of the victims — whether they have caused fear or prevented them from living a normal life — as well as actions common among stalkers.
Identifying behavioral patterns among people convicted of such offenses would help the government form a more comprehensive set of measures to protect people, she said.
The NPP proposes three levels of intervention available for people targeted by stalking, Wang said.
The first is to allow people to apply for a warning to be issued to an alleged perpetrator, which would be issued by police within 72 hours; the second is an ordinary restraining order, which would be issued by a court; and the third would be if a court deems that an intervention is urgent and necessary, it would be able to issue an emergency restraining order, ensuring faster, more comprehensive and effective protection,” she said.
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