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DPP lawmakers urge extended prison terms for sex-related crimes

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday called for longer sentences for those found guilty of rape and incest.

DPP Legislators Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉), Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純), Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) and Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) held a press conference asking the government to quickly amend laws governing rape and other sex offences.

The legislators suggested the government extend the prison sentences for sex offenders to at least 10 years.

The punishment for rape, lawmakers said, should be on the same level as homicide, as such crimes are a serious invasion of victims' rights and privacy. This is one of the reasons the report rate for rape is relatively low.

Chiu said that since 2010 cases of incest have increased from 1,554 to 1,667. The statistics indicate that on average one incident of incest occurs every 4.8 hours, he stated.

The total figure of rape cases has increased from 10,892 in 2010 to 13,873 cases as of November 2012. In total, the number of victims has increased 27.4 percent, and the report rate has increased 7.3 percent, according to Chiu.

Ho said that the Ministry of the Interior should further revise and reform the mental health and counseling programs offered for victims of rape and sexual assault.

She suggested the government try to reduce the level of emotional pain endured by victims when recalling sex crimes for the police.

Questioning of victims can cause further mental trauma as well as make the interrogation process difficult for the victims to assist in the investigation, Ho added.

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