Domestic violence forum held in Tokyo

The Police Administration Research Center on Tuesday held a forum on domestic violence in Tokyo attended by some 370 people.

Among the speakers were Elizabeth Scheibel, district attorney of Northwestern, Massachusetts, who discussed what the police and judiciary can do to tackle violence within households.

Domestic violence is causing the deaths of 4,000 women annually in the United States, she said.

Scheibel, who specializes in domestic violence and child abuse, said most victims of domestic violence are women and they are often compelled to continue living with their abusive partners for economic reasons.

Those women eventually start blaming themselves for causing the situation, Scheibel said.

She also explained about a project in which the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office is working with police and the local community to approach victims of domestic violence to try to intervene.

Yoko Kato, a native of Kanagawa Prefecture who moved to the U.S. when she was 21 years old and has lost a daughter and a grandchild to domestic violence, told the gathering it is important for children to grow up without experiencing constant fear.

“There is a high possibility that children who have experienced domestic violence will commit crimes,” said Kato, who works at the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office and other organizations in an effort to eliminate violence in homes.

“It is necessary to create an environment in which they can talk to family members comfortably from the time they are very young,” she said.

In Massachusetts, a state law calling for protection of victims of domestic violence was enacted in 1978.