• Judges cited lack of hard evidence as the reason domestic abuse divorces are difficult to rule on.

Judges cited lack of hard evidence as the reason domestic abuse divorces are difficult to rule on. (Photo : Flickr)

Nearly 90 percent of the victims of domestic abuse last year in Shanghai were married women, according to a report released by the Shanghai Women's Federation on Tuesday, as cited by Shanghai Daily.

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The report also claims that 22 percent of the victims in the 440 cases reported to the federation were college-educated.

Around 31 percent of the victims were between the ages of 26 and 45, while 11 percent were older than 60.

The federation released the report to coincide with the introduction of China's first ever law on domestic violence.

"We will set up counters in police stations to handle reports of domestic violence," said an anonymous police officer.

The police officer also said that the police can now issue written warning to people they suspect to be abusers. If the recipient does not act in accordance with the warning, they may be subjected to criminal punishment.

"In the past it was difficult to deal with domestic violence cases as it was hard to determine exactly what had been going on," said the officer, who added that there are still plenty of families that think of such fights as private matters.

Courts will also be able to issue restraining orders against abusive partners.

"Previously, we could only consider domestic violence allegations as part of another case, such as a divorce suit," said Wu Wei, a judge with Shanghai Higher People's Court. "But now we can look at these things independently."

According to the new law, courts must respond to applications for restraining orders within 72 hours. If the case is deemed urgent, this period is shortened to 24 hours.

"For people who suffer violence from a person they live with, the court can order the abusive partner to move out of the property," said Wu.

Restraining orders remain in effect for up to six months. However, these can be extended if needed, according to Wu.

"Most cases involve physical violence, but we are also now looking at how to protect people from psychological abuses," added Wu.