Non-protection of same-sex intimate partners under Macau’s domestic violence legislation

Jason CHAO
Dec 31, 2020 · 2 min read

Compared to heterosexual intimate partners, same-sex intimate partners are deprived of protection under the Domestic Violence Law (Law no. 2/2016). A marriage or de facto union is not a prerequisite[1] for eligibility for protection.

In 2015, Rainbow of Macau wrote to the Committee against Torture (CAT) about the Macau government’s plan to exclude same-sex partner from the proposed Domestic Violence Law when it was reviewing the implementation of Convention against Torture in China, in which the Macau SAR is included. In CAT’s concluding observations, Macau was urged to enact a Domestic Violence Law without discrimination. Still, in early 2016, the Macau government declined to reinstate the reference to same-sex partners in the final text of the Domestic Violence Law.

The LGBT+ people’s experience of domestic violence was studied by Rainbow of Macau in its 2019 Macau LGBT+ Survey. In the study, Rainbow enumerated the abuses which might be classified as domestic violence. 22.1% of respondents reported experiencing domestic violence perpetrated by intimate partners.

Table 1. Forms of domestic violence experienced by Macau LGBT+ individuals (percentage)
Figure 1. Forms of domestic violence experienced by Macau LGBT+ individuals (number of cases)
Table 2. Attitude towards the call for inclusion of same-sex co-habitants in domestic violence legislation
Figure 2. Attitude towards the call for inclusion of same-sex co-habitants in domestic violence legislation (percentage)

Rainbow of Macau suggests that Human Rights Committee asks Macau, China to:

1. Explain the non-compliance with the Committee against Torture’s recommendation that the Domestic Violence Law should be enacted without discrimination;

2. Provide information on training provided to frontline social workers and police officers concerning the detection of intimate violence between same-sex partners; and

3. Clarify whether or not the state party has the will to accord equal protection to victims of domestic violence without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

This article is an excerpt from the 2020 submission of the Rainbow to Macau to the UN Human Rights Committee.

For the 2019 Macau LGBT+ Survey referred to in this article, see the report in full or the presentation slides.

[1] Law no. 2/2016, art. 4(2)(3).

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