Gov’t agencies: Report gender-based violence in your areas
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed gender-based violence response units to remain vigilant and promptly respond to reports of domestic abuses against women, children and members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA) community amid the enhanced community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
In a joint statement issued on Monday, May 4, 2020, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) denounced all forms of gender-based violence amid the ongoing public health crisis.
The government agencies also called on the public to immediately report any form of abuse in their homes and communities especially with the risk of the incidence to increase during the enhanced community quarantine.
In the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey, experts found that 3 out of 20 women aged 15 to 49 years old have been physically abused. The study also said one out of every 20 have experienced sexual violence.
Although violence against the LGBTQIA community remains undocumented, the agencies said several anecdotal reports “demonstrate the gravity of the issue.”
“We are aware that the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, aimed to reduce transmission of COVID-19, may increase the frequency and severity of violence against these vulnerable populations,” the joint statement reads.
The agencies called on the Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) desks in barangays and police units “to respond quickly and effectively to all reports of GBV, using a survivor-centered approach.”
They also called upon local government units to maintain functional referral mechanisms for efficient response to reports of gender-based violence and the victims to “step forward and seek help” in order to fight against and end the abuses. /bmjo
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