Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape and domestic violence, and the government effectively enforced the law. Police received 37 complaints of rape and made 21 arrests during the last six months of 2014 and the first six months of 2015.
The government effectively used laws criminalizing the relevant behaviors to prosecute domestic violence. The Legislative Assembly passed Macau’s first domestic violence prevention law in January, but same-sex couples are not under its purview. Under the new law, a victim can decide whether to pursue charges if the consequences of the violence are “mild.” Various NGOs and some government officials considered domestic violence against women to be a growing problem. Domestic violence falls under several crimes in the criminal code, including the crime of mistreatment of minors, persons with incapacity, or spouses. These crimes are punishable with imprisonment ranging from one to five years. If mistreatment leads to serious physical injuries or death, the penalties may be increased to imprisonment of two to eight years in cases involving physical injury and five to 15 years in those resulting in death. There were 306 reported cases of domestic violence in the last six months of 2014 and the first six months of 2015.
The government referred victims to medical treatment, and medical social workers counseled victims and informed them of social welfare services. During the first half of the year, the Social Welfare Bureau handled 50 domestic violence cases. The government funded NGOs, including religious groups, to provide victim support services, including medical services, family counseling, and housing. The government also supported 24-hour hotlines for reporting and counseling in domestic violence cases.
The Bureau for Family Action, a government organization subordinate to the Department of Family and Community of the Social Welfare Institute, provided shelters for female victims of domestic violence and their children and advice about legal actions against perpetrators. A range of counseling services was available to persons who requested them at social service centers. Two government-supported religious programs also offered rehabilitation programs for female victims of violence.
Sexual Harassment: There is no law specifically addressing sexual harassment, unless it involves the use of a position of authority to coerce the performance of physical acts. Harassment in general is prohibited under laws governing equal opportunity, employment and labor rights, and labor relations.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals had the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children, to manage their reproductive health and to both fertility and contraceptive treatment, free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Access to information on family planning, contraception, and prenatal care was widely available, as was skilled attendance at delivery and postpartum care.
Discrimination: Equal opportunity legislation mandates that women receive equal pay for equal work. Discrimination in hiring practices based on gender or physical ability is prohibited by law, and penalties exist for employers who violate these guidelines. The law allows for civil suits, but few women took cases to the Labor Affairs Bureau (LAB) or other entities. Gender differences in the workforce existed, with women concentrated in lower-paid sectors and lower-level jobs. Observers estimated there was a significant difference in salaries between men and women, particularly among those with unskilled jobs. The CAC received one complaint of gender discrimination during the period from July 2014 through June 2015.