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November 25, 2009

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City shelter offers help to abuse victims

THE city's anti-domestic violence aid center opened yesterday, offering a shelter free of charge to domestic violence victims who need temporary home and aid.

Officials said the center, organized by the Shanghai Women's Federation and the civil department, will provide shelter for women, children and old people who live in the city but have nowhere to go and need temporary quarters, usually for no more than seven days.

The first city-level institution of its kind, it's located at Fucun Road, Putuo District. The phone number is 6204-8414.

Domestic violence victims can submit a written application to a sub-district women's organization or an office for the elderly, bringing a police report record and identification certificates.

In an emergency, victims can apply to the center directly with the relevant materials.

Domestic-violence complaints are decreasing yearly, according to the women's federation. The federation received 1,418 complaints last year, down from 2,848 in 2005.

Despite the decrease, some women continue to be injured, disabled and even killed by serious domestic violence, said Zhang Lili, the federation's chairwoman.

"The center offers a buffer period between the victims and those who exert the violence. During the shelter period, social organizations can get involved to solve the dispute," Zhang said.

Two similar facilities have been running since 2005 on a trial basis in Pudong New Area and Jinshan District. Women beaten by their husbands can stay at the shelters for free and receive psychological counseling. If a woman decides she wants to divorce her abusive husband, a lawyer will provide legal assistance.

The two shelters were visited by only a few dozen women a year.

"Many women won't come to the shelter unless they have no other choice, because they don't want others to learn about their private problems," said Lu Tianyi, of the Pudong New Area Women's Federation.

"But they must seek help from the federation, neighborhood committee or the police."


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