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Rise in abuse victims exceeds funding: report

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Between 2008 and 2012, the reported number of domestic abuse victims has increased from 27,000 to 51,000, representing a 70-percent increase; however, funds to prevent and address these problems have only increased by a disproportionate 30 percent, Control Yuan members Gau Fehng-shian (高鳳仙) and Liu Yuh-san (劉玉山) said yesterday.

 The Control Yuan members recently released a report indicating that reported cases of domestic abuse have increased by 40 percent, while the reported number of victims have skyrocketed 70 percent.

 National funds to prevent and address these problems, on the other hand, have only increased 30 percent (from NT$1.09 billion to NT$1.48 billion), which clearly indicates an imbalance, the Control Yuan members said in their report.

 In terms of aid, each victim was given an average of NT$4,000 in 2008, and that amount decreased to NT$1,000 by 2012, the report said, adding that emergency stipends, set by the central government, are between NT$9,000 to NT$14,000, but in reality, only NT$1,000 to NT$2,000 is allotted to each person.

 Subsidies for counseling have repeatedly come in lower than NT$500 per person over the past few years; far lower than the minimal standard of NT$3,000, according to the report.

 These funds are highly dependent on unstable income from the public welfare lottery, Control Yuan members said in the report, requesting that a foundation be set up to better address cases of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

 So far, only Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan County, Taichung City, Tainan City and Kaohsiung City have set up centers for domestic abuse prevention in accordance with the law, the report pointed out.

Social Worker Decline, Work Overload

 The Control Yuan members also pointed out a decrease in social workers, adding that by 2010, social workers in Hualien County, Taitung County and Hsinchu City had all but disappeared, and between 2011 and 2012, almost half of the remaining social workers in Taitung County had resigned.

 The number of cases that each social worker is given also far exceeds the limit of 40 set by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the report said, adding that between 2008 and 2012, social workers in Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Nantou and Hualien on average each handled more than 100 cases per month.

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