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Law revision aims to spare abused from filial duty

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- People who were maltreated or suffered sexual or physical abuse from their parents as children may be exempted from fulfilling filial duties toward parents, according to draft revisions to the Civil Law and the Criminal Law that passed the first reading yesterday by the Judiciary and Organic Laws & Statutes Committee of the Legislative Yuan.

Under the existing Criminal Law, those who decline to offer sustenance to their parents will be subject to jail terms of over six months and under five years on charges of abandoning parents.

However some children have been maltreated, physically or sexually abused by their parents, or some parents have failed to fulfill their responsibility to look after their children well, as repeatedly reported by domestic media.

Accordingly, lawmakers have resolved to add an “exclusion clause” to the Criminal Law, allowing people to have their duty reduced or even be exempted from providing their parents with means of livelihood, in the event that they have suffered any one of the above-mentioned undesirable situations.

But in order to prevent people from abandoning their parents, Justice Minister Wang Ching-feng said that her ministry will handle all relevant cases carefully.

Wang said that if parents have failed to accomplish their obligations toward their children, they can hardly expect their children to fulfill their filial duty when they grow up.

Kuomintang lawmaker Pan Wei-kang said that the revisions to the Civil Law and the Criminal Law will be submitted to the plenary session of the Legislative Yuan for final ratification.

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