- The divorce petition was filed by the wife (PW) against the husband (RH). The marriage was dissolved with immediate effect.
- PW sought damages for domestic violence whilst the RH submitted that damages could not be awarded under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 and that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear this case as regards domestic violence.
- The judge held that the court has jurisdiction to hear matrimonial matters as it comes within the civil jurisdiction of a High Court. Damages for domestic violence could also be dealt with by the court since the intitulement of the suit mentioned ‘Dalam perkara Seksyen-Seksyen 2 dan 10 Akta Keganasan Rumah Tangga 1994’ and where a victim of domestic violence suffers personal injuries or damage to property or financial loss as a result of the domestic violence, the court hearing a claim for compensation may award such compensation in respect of the injury or damage or loss as it deems just and reasonable.
Domestic Violence Act 1994
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“domestic violence”means the commission of one or more of the following acts:
(a)wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, the victim in fear of physical injury;
(b)causing physical injury to the victim by such act which is known or ought to have been known would result in physical injury;
(c)compelling the victim by force or threat to engage in any conduct or act, sexual or otherwise, from which the victim has a right to abstain;
(d)confining or detaining the victim against the victim’s will;
(e)causing mischief or destruction or damage to property with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause distress or annoyance to the victim;
(ea)dishonestly misappropriating the victim’s property which causes the victim to suffer distress due to financial loss;
(eb)threatening the victim with intent to cause the victim to fear for his safety or the safety of his property, to fear for the safety of a third person, or to suffer distress;
(ec)communicating with the victim, or communicating about the victim to a third person, with intent to insult the modesty of the victim through any means, electronic or otherwise;
(f)causing psychological abuse which includes emotional injury to the victim;
(g)causing the victim to suffer delusions by using any intoxicating substance or any other substance without the victim’s consent or if the consent is given, the consent was unlawfully obtained; or
(h)in the case where the victim is a child, causing the victim to suffer delusions by using any intoxicating substance or any other substance,
by a person, whether by himself or through a third party, against—
(i)his or her spouse;
(ii)his or her former spouse;
(iv)an incapacitated adult; or
(v)any other member of the family;
(1) Where a victim of domestic violence suffers personal injuries or damage to property or financial loss as a result of the domestic violence, the court hearing a claim for compensation may award such compensation in respect of the injury or damage or loss as it deems just and reasonable.
(2) The court hearing a claim for such compensation may take into account—
(a)the pain and suffering of the victim, and the nature and extent of physical injury or psychological abuse which includes emotional injury suffered;
(b)the cost of medical treatment for such injuries;
(c)any loss of earnings arising therefrom;
(d)the amount or value of the property taken or destroyed or damaged;
(e)necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by or on behalf of the victim when the victim is compelled to separate or be separated from the defendant due to the domestic violence, such as—
(i)lodging expenses to be contributed to a safe place or shelter;
(ii)transport and moving expenses;
(iii)the expenses required in setting up a separate household which, subject to subsection (3), may include amounts representing such housing loan payments or rental payments or part thereof, in respect of the shared residence, or alternative residence, as the case may be, for such period as the court considers just and reasonably necessary.
(3) In considering any necessary and reasonable expenses that may be taken into account under subparagraph (2)(e)(iii), the court may also take into account—
(a)the financial position of the victim as well as that of the defendant;
(b)the relationship that exists between the parties and the reasonableness of requiring the defendant to make or contribute towards such payments;
(c)the possibility of other proceedings being taken between the parties and the matter being more appropriately dealt with under the relevant laws relating to the financial provision of spouses or former spouses and other dependants.
Source: Chin Yoke Yin v Tan Theam Huat  11 MLJ 577
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