What is the Act on The Prevention of Spousal Violence and The Protection of Victims?
The Act on the prevention of spousal violence and the protection of victims was established in 2001 and was partly revised in 2004. Within their definition of intimate partner violence, psychological abuse is included amongst physical, economic, sexual and verbal violence. Domestic violence is used in previous laws and research in Japan.
For the first time, restraining and deportation orders were established by the domestic violence prevention law against a spouse who commits violence carrying a penalty when not adhered to. Support centers were established for the victims that are affected and assistance from the police who are under a duty to take any necessary measures to prevent the victims they assist from any further damage or abuse from their spouse e.g. the head of the local police must provide refuge to those who are abused and a place where partners can negotiate about the restraining orders. The police must report the incidence of abuse to the court who then may or may not issue the Protection Order which provides conditions on the restraining and deportation of the perpetrators. For victims to promote their independence from their perpetrators, resources are provided to them by the Social Welfare Centre. It is important to note that all of the mentioned measures are effective only for victims who have been exposed to the same or similar violent situations for at least 6 months which is often considered too long given the possible risk of serious injury and even the death of the victim. Other measures within the law system include psychological and medical guidance and spousal violence counseling.