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Experts are calling for the urgent implementation of measures against perpetrators of domestic violence and other steps after a murder last month suspected to have been related to domestic abuse.

A 45-year-old man, his 67-year-old father-in-law and 91-year-old grandfather-in-law were confirmed dead after being found with wounds at a house in the town of Takachiho in Miyazaki Prefecture on Oct. 26.

The Miyazaki Prefectural Police are investigating the incident on suspicion that the 45-year-old man committed suicide after killing his father-in-law and grandfather-in-law.

According to police in Miyazaki and neighboring Kagoshima Prefecture, the eldest daughter had consulted them about domestic violence inflicted by her husband multiple times since February last year but had not filed a damage report.

After repeatedly escaping from her home in the city of Shibushi, Kagoshima Prefecture, to Miyazaki, the daughter moved to a location in Miyazaki with her child in August this year and had lived there since.

Last month, she petitioned a court for a protection order based on the domestic violence prevention law, but such an order had not been issued by the day of the incident.

“It’s difficult for a single organization receiving consultations to make accurate judgments in urgent cases, or when the victim is in a complicated psychological state — such as when opting not to file a damage report,” said Michiyo Zaitsu, head of a nonprofit organization that helps women suffering from domestic violence mainly in Miyazaki.

Regarding temporary evacuations to special facilities made available to those fleeing domestic abuse, Zaitsu pointed out that the standards for offering such protections differ by prefecture and that such differences can result in cases where those targeted cannot be saved.

“There’s a need to swiftly establish a nationally unified support scheme so that victims can receive help wherever they are,” she said.

Zaitsu also stressed the need to deal with perpetrators as well, saying, “It’s important to create a system in which perpetrators are held accountable, instead of victims just fleeing.”

According to a Cabinet Office survey, domestic violence consultations in Japan reached a record high of some 190,000 cases in fiscal 2020 amid the COVID-19 crisis.

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