Gender-related violence during lockdown? Report it to CHR online

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - Inquirer.net | April 27,2020 - 06:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Gender-based violence during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the COVID-19 pandemic may now be reported through an online site of the Commission Human Rights (CHR).

The CHR said Monday it has developed the site as part of their responsibility as gender ombud, as residents of Luzon and other areas spend more time at home because of travel restrictions brought by the ECQ.

The portal can be accessed through https://www.gbvcovid.report/, where CHR would request information from the complainant, which would be stored confidentially.  However, CHR urges people in imminent danger to call the Philippine National Police’s Women’s Desk at 8532-6690 local 177, as it may take time to process the complaints.

“If you are, or if you know someone is being abused within your homes or communities, reach out to us. We are here to help you out,” CHR said in a statement.

“Continue to be vigilant and alert to all forms of gender-based violence, especially violence against women and children, during the ECQ,” they added. “We encourage victim-survivors to reach out and seek help.”

Human rights and gender equality advocates have warned that the lockdown, which requires people to stay at home to limit chances of a localized transmission of the virus, may lead to higher cases of domestic violence.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, a known woman rights’ advocate, warned that the country may see an increase in domestic abuse cases because of the lockdown, saying that it would be even more difficult for abused women to endure staying at home with their abusers.

“There will be a surge of domestically-abused Filipino women if we turn a blind eye. We must take all necessary actions to stop any form of violence within the family,” Hontiveros, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Gender Equality, and Family Relations, said last April 15.

“Because of the proximity in the home and added stress due to economic hardship brought by the quarantine, Filipino women and children who are living with their abusers become more vulnerable to violence,” she added.

In other countries with bad records of domestic violence that have either imposed home quarantine or lockdown measures, the cases have seen an upward trend.  In Iraq, community police officers said that their log of domestic violence cases has increased by an average of 30 percent since the curfew, while some areas experienced a 50-percent spike.

As of now, the ECQ over Manila and the rest of Luzon are still in place, with President Rodrigo Duterte including the capital region in the ECQ extension until May 15.

The Department of Health said that there are now 7,777 patients infected with the coronavirus nationwide, of which 511 have died and 932 have recovered.  Worldwide, over 2.9 million individuals have been infected, while at least 206,502 have died from the disease, and over 834,656 have recovered from it.

The CHR likewise called on its partner organizations and anti-violence advocates to use the reporting portal to document cases of violence and to formally submit them to the Commission.

“The CHR commits to respond to these cases through our referral network, to ensure observance of safety protocols, and to make visible that during ECQ, not all who stay at home are safe,” it said.

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TAGS: CHR, COVID-19, ECQ, gender ombud, gender-based violence, online site, report

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