READ | Ending violence against women: victims encouraged to report abuses

The city’s gender advocate encourages women to report any violence committed against them to authorities.

In an interview of the city’s regular radio program Ang Panabo Karon, Gender Advocate from the City Legal Office, Victoria Canarias, emphasized that women who are victims of abuses can report the cases either to the police through the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD), City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), City Legal Office (CLO), or through the VAWC (Violence Against Women and Children) desks in their respective barangays.

Canarias emphasized that women may not be aware that they are already victims of VAWC as there are different forms of violence against women categorized by law. Under Republic Act 9262 or Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, this may be committed by physical, psychological, sexual, or economic abuse.

She explained that the law is not limited to married women, as the essential consideration under RA 9262 is the sexual or dating relationship between the victim and the offender. Thus, marital bond is not a requisite in filing a VAWC case.

Women can also be held liable under the law, if they are partners or former partners of the victim with whom she has or had a sexual or dating relationship.

Economic abuse
In cases of economic abuse, married women can demand legal support both for her children and herself. However, those women who are cohabiting with their partners without the benefit of marriage, they can demand legal support for their children only.

Aside from irregular, insufficient, or no financial support, economic abuse may be perpetrated by preventing the woman from engaging in any limited profession, occupation, business or activity, deprivation of financial resources and the right to conjugal community, destroying household property or controlling the woman’s own money or properties.

Canarias added that under the law, the offended party may file a criminal action and apply for a Protection Order as an independent action.

Protection Orders
Protection Orders are issued by the barangay or the court to prevent the perpetrator from committing further acts of violence against the woman victim or her children. This may be obtained by the offended party; her family members until the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity; officers or social workers of the DSWD or LGUs, police officers preferably those in-charge of women and children’s desk; punong barangay or kagawad, lawyers, counselors or healthcare provider of the petitioner; or at least two (2) concerned citizens who have personal knowledge of the offense committed.

More importantly, Canarias stressed that the violation of the said protection order may subject the offender to imprisonment or may be held in contempt of court.

Apart from catering VAWC complaints, the Gender and Development Office of the city has a comprehensive support program through providing medical, legal, and psychological services, and immediate response operation among others. The St. Therese Crisis Center is also now operational which serves as temporary shelter to protect women victims of violence.

The advocacy to end violence against women and their children is in line with this year’s National Women’s Month celebration.

Categorized in Featured , Gender and Development

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