Jakarta: Indonesia’s House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a long-awaited sexual violence bill, which had been languishing in the country for nearly a decade.
The bill, which was initially proposed in 2012, is aimed to provide a distinct legal framework that acknowledges sexual violence as a criminal act punishable by law, and gives protection to victims.
The House approved the bill after a majority of lawmakers backed it, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The ratification of the sexual violence bill into law is a gift for all Indonesian women,” said House Speaker Puan Maharani, who chaired the plenary session to ratify the bill.
Lawmaker Willy Aditya, who led a special team deliberating the bill, explained that with the new law, the authorities are able to take immediate action on reported cases of sexual harassment based on a single piece of evidence, which has been down from the current requirement of three.
“This is the proof of our country being present to give justice and protection to victims of sexual abuse cases which we see as an iceberg phenomenon,” he said.