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Cabinet approves stalking harassment prevention bill

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The Cabinet on Thursday approved a stalking harassment prevention bill drafted by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) to strengthen protection for victims of stalking crimes.

The bill will be forwarded to the Legislature for deliberation and take effect six months after promulgation.

Premier Su Tseng-chang said that stalking is a serious form of sexual violence. According to the United Nations, sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking make up the three largest threats to the personal safety of women. Surveys also reveal that approximately 80 percent of all stalking cases involve women as victims and men as perpetrators. These cases are characterized by a high incidence rate and are very dangerous, causing a significant degree of fear and harm.

In addition to criminalizing stalking and clearly identifying which behaviors constitute crimes, the bill empowers law enforcement to act, and allows victims, prosecutors or the police to seek restraining orders from the courts. Premier Su said that the Legislature's passage of the bill would provide targets of stalkers, especially women, with more encompassing protections.

The MOI stated that in recent years Taiwan has steadily enacted a number of laws aimed at preventing gender-based violence and ensuring equality between the sexes. Existing legislation includes 1997's Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act, 1998's Domestic Violence Prevention Act, 2002's Act of Gender Equality in Employment, 2004's Gender Equity Education Act and 2005's Sexual Harassment Prevention Act. Such legislative achievements not only pave the way for greater gender mainstreaming and improve protections for victims, but also advance important national policy as well as larger principles of constitutional human rights.

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