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Media Release: Telenisa Reports Increase in Fasakh and Domestic Violence Cases for 2017 (8 Mar 2018)
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8 March 2018 - Telenisa, a free legal clinic run by Sisters in Islam, has recorded an increase in their number of clients seeking fasakh, from 62 clients in 2016 to 137 clients in 2017.

Fasakh is a method of divorce that is initiated by a Muslim woman, and is granted through a Court Order. The wife may file for divorce citing either of the twelve reasons allowed by the Islamic Family Law.

Alarmingly, domestic violence remains a main cause for divorce among Telenisa clients, representing up to 24% of the cases handled. Psychological abuse remains the most cited form of domestic violence with up to 38%, followed closely by physical abuse at 30%. Other forms of domestic violence reported to Telenisa included financial abuse (12%), child abuse (8%) and marital rape (2%).

Telenisa has recorded an increase in cases handled, from 524 in 2016 to 711 in 2017.

Speaking at the launch of the 2017 Telenisa Statistics and Findings in conjunction with International Women’s Day today, Sisters in Islam’s Advocacy, Legal Services and Research (ALSR) Manager Shareena Sheriff mentioned that while there has been an increase in awareness among women of their rights, the justice system remains lackadaisical and inconsistent in their judgements.

“As a result, many of the cases that Telenisa handles gets caught at the Syariah Court level for years, causing and often prolonging unnecessary trauma to the women.”

Shareena goes on to emphasise the need for reforms to the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territory) Act 1984 in order to recognise equality of men and women in marriage and the family. The laws on marriage, divorce, guardianship of children, polygamy, inheritance and many other areas significantly discriminates against Muslim women.

“As other Muslim majority countries progress in providing greater equality and justice to women, Malaysia has in fact, regressed. Muslim women in Malaysia face a double discrimination as their rights are reduced in comparison with non-Muslim women, and on top of this, they face inequality with men under the Islamic Family Law.”

Established in 2003, Telenisa has helped countless women and men by bringing awareness to their legal rights under the Islamic Family Law and Syariah Criminal Offences Act in Malaysia. Aside from their free confidential legal advisory clinic which operates three times a week, Telenisa also operates a mobile legal clinic which extends their services to the grassroot level.

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