To protect personal safety of social workers and their working environment, city councilor Zhang Yao-zhong (張耀中) proposed to the Taichung City Government in June 2013 to draft self-governing regulations by following the example of Lisa's Law of the U.S.A. Mayor Jason Unsupported the idea and instructed the Social Affairs Bureau to draft the "Regulations Governing Autonomy and Personal Security of Social Workers,” which then passed the resolution of the City Council, was approved by Executive Yuan, and was promulgated for implementation on May 16, 2014, thus making Taichung City the first to set up such an ordinance to protect the personal safety of social workers in Taiwan.
As the society turns out to be more complex, the problems that social workers deal with have evolved from simply birth control and poverty issues in the early days to cover such legal matters as child protection, placement, care and many others. A social worker often needs to visit people by herself or himself alone, making his or her jobs potentially dangerous.
According to the statistics of Social Affairs Bureau of Taichung City Government, there are about 1,200 social workers in Taichung City, including about 300 public social-work professionals and contracted social workers hired by the Social Affairs Bureau. Most of the social workers are female but they need to handle many heavy jobs, especially in an emergency case, which requires her or him to visit the case owner within 24 hours and may need to help take care of the case owner’s children and attend the court hearing at the same time.
Taichung City Government established “Guidelines to Protect Social Workers Handling Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Cases” in 2011 and now upgrades the guidelines into “Regulations Governing Autonomy and Personal Security of Social Workers,” which has a higher legal ranking and is more law-binding and enforceable with criminal liability and penalties. We are very proud that Taichung City is the first in Taiwan to set up such self-governing regulations to protect social workers.
Wang Xiu-yan (王秀燕), Director-general of Social Affairs Bureau said, “Most of the cities and counties in Taiwan have set up their own guidelines to protect social workers handling domestic violence and sexual assault cases. However, guidelines are only internal administrative rules, whose legal hierarchy is much lower than the self-governing regulations. Thus, we at Taichung City Government upgrade the guidelines into self-governing regulations to give our social workers better protection. We are very proud that we are the first in the country to implement such more legally binding and enforceable regulations to protect the personal safety of our social workers. With reference to the specific principles of Lisa’s Law of the USA, it is regulated that anyone who threats or attacks a social worker must face criminal responsibility now.”