Under Japan’s Domestic Violence Protection Act, the only support for a victim’s protection is for the victim to leave the home and be sheltered. Moreover, it requires complete separation and disconnection from the perpetrator in order to ensure their safety.

At first glance, it seems to make sense, but when you are in the field, you realize that there are many things wrong.

When a victim who is vulnerable runs away, they lose their livelihood, relationships, and face an increased financial burden. For the safety and security of the victim, the perpetrator should be separated and restrained instead of letting the victim escape. This is a matter of course in the Domestic Violence Laws of Europe and the United States.

Furthermore, in order to be protected, the victim must report to the police and then to the district court. After that, a protection order will be issued, during which the perpetrator may retaliate against the victim. Therefore, in serious cases, the victim cannot report the incident, and those who really need protection are not protected. Additionally, the Domestic Violence Protection Act can be abused because there is no need for evidence or fact finding by public authorities when filing a report. This is the reason why so many cases are made up.

Victims can become psychologically isolated as they are sheltered and lose all contact and relationships in order to escape the pursuit of their abusers (Translator’s note: In public shelters in Japan, female victims have their cell phones confiscated and are restricted from communication and travel). This can reinforce the victim’s anxiety and make recovery difficult.

In this way, the family disintegrates, with the perpetrator falling into anger and despair because of the sudden and unreasonable loss of the family, and the single parent and child being forced to live an even more unstable life with hurt and anxiety, and the problem becomes a generational chain. Within this structure, the funds for support move and become special interests, and if domestic violence were to disappear, it would be a problem for the supporters.

I also have a shelter and provide support, but it is not subsidized or commissioned by the government, so I am not involved in the profit structure. The shelter is used by both men and women, regardless of whether they are victims or perpetrators.

In domestic violence cases, we recommend the use of men. Men can easily go to work from the shelter, children do not have to change daycare or school, and victims do not have to change their lives. De-violence support for perpetrators is also easily available if they are in the shelter.

In cases where it is difficult for men to enter the shelter, women often use the shelter. In the case of mothers and children, support is needed for the children and psychological care is necessary for the damage. The JAFAREC shelter provides women’s workshops and childcare staff, so there will be no problems. Of course, there are no restrictions on communication or travel.

I will be involved as a coordinator for dialogue and agreement with the perpetrator for safety and security. Once both parties have formed a consensus about the situation and ensured their safety, I will also provide counseling and group workshops to further resolve their respective issues.

When both parties have settled down, I will facilitate the conversation through me. When both parties have settled down, I will facilitate the conversation through me. We aim for a restorative outcome, whether it is a divorce or not, rather than a fight over whether to re-live together, stay separated, or divorce, and what to do after the divorce.

As such, recovery and restoration may take several months to six months or even close to a year, but the result is less burdensome for both parties and, most importantly, for the children. Most of the shelter stays lasted from a month to several months, and in fact, there were mothers and children who used the shelter for almost six months, and men who used the shelter for a month to several months, and some for almost a year.

JAFAREC’s shelter seems to be very comfortable, and we have received many gratifying comments from clients. I’m glad to be working for them.

Originally posted on March 6, 2017
English text translated with DeepL (Japanese to English) and checked by Mina.

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