Domestic violence among top 3 complaints

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds

BELAIT

DOMESTIC violence was the third most recorded complaint to the counseling section of the Religious Affairs Office in Belait in 2015, said its head yesterday.

Hj Asminan Hj Chuchu told The Brunei Times said that 17 out of 104 recorded complaints by the office last year were of household violence, all affecting women, who voluntarily sought the help of religious counselors to find solutions for their predicament.

“The problem of domestic violence is one that we deal with every year in tandem with other authorities, and last year was no different,” said Hj Asminan, who said the number of cases recorded by the office last year was relatively the same compared to the year prior

He pointed out that of the 17 cases, some choose to see a religious counselor first before approaching the police, as a last attempt to salvage the situation without involving legal implications.

“Each case has to be examined very carefully by the counselor to determine the right course of action, but the first priority is to ensure that the person who does come forward has their future safety and welfare ensured,” he said.

He explained that the two biggest complaints recorded by the office – lack of understanding between partners and the abandoning of marital responsibilities – were common denominators in spousal violence.

“We record them into separate categories, but the truth is that the lack of understanding and abandoning of responsibilities are fundamental to the problem of violence and if you take a wider view these same problems are often seen in divorce cases as well,” said Hj Asminan.

Through counseling both parties in all three complaint categories, seven peaceful resolutions were achieved in the 104 recorded cases, but the majority remain in the purview of the court.

“Normally the procedure for an Islamic couple seeking divorce, is for the court to refer them to the section to be counseled before they proceed further.

“But our role is not to forcefully reconcile, especially not against their will, but to explore between them what went wrong and to open and see if a resolution is possible,” said Hj Asminan.

He added that the low recorded number of peacefully resolutions should not be taken at just face value, as not all that are counseled by the section are registered as cases.

“The counseling section received 355 walk-ins last year, most seeking advice and guidance.

Those who walked in and left without filing a complaint, or did not seek prolonged or sustained help afterwards do not contribute to our overall number of complaints,” he said.

Currently the office is in the process of settling 18 other complaints, while another eight are being kept in view.

The Brunei Times