VAWC now a public crime, says family court judge

By Leandria Pagunsan

DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) — Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) is now considered a public crime.

Branch 37 (Family Court) Judge Maria Angelita Alcoran during her talk at the recent Multi-Sectoral Women’s Summit/ Forum and Workshop held in celebration of Women’s Month said that 65% of criminal cases filed in her court account for VAWC, most of which are rape involving children.

According to Judge Alcoran, sexual abuses committed against children are incest in nature perpetrated by their own fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles or cousins.

Rape was then considered a private crime and without the victim’s filing of complaint in court there is no case.

Now, Republic Act 6292 clearly defines VAWC as a public crime and any person who has knowledge of the crime can initiate a complaint in court.

Alcoran added that the person witnessing the crime and initiated a complaint should not be afraid because that person automatically is exempted from criminal and administrative liability.

In the case of a battered wife, vigilance to the crime will help the woman from being incapacitated from her abusive husband.

Moreover, Alcoran said that physical, sexual, and psychological abuses committed against women and their children are now punishable by law under Republic Act 6292.

Cases of sexual abuse on women filed in court are handled with strict confidentiality, stressed Alcoran.

Through a protection order, the respondents are prohibited from getting near as well as stalking the complainant.

The Gender and Development (GAD) should monitor strictly the implementation of additional 10-day leave given to abused women apart from the regular leave entitled to them.

Evita Mae Villagonzalo of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) here revealed that part of their advocacy is a continuing education campaign in promoting the rights of women workers.

Villagonzalo explained that part of implementing their labor laws is to conduct assessment in establishments and reaching out to the informal sector especially wives of farmers and other women organizations.

DOLE’s livelihood program helps promote financial independence to women from husbands who intentionally make them economically dependent resulting to psychological abuse.

Villagonzalo cited that their child labor program in partnership with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Visayan Forum conduct regular monitoring and rescue operation for child laborers in hazardous work environment in Negros Oriental.

Villagonzalo stressed that most of these children are helpless because they do not know their rights especially the girls who are easy target and the most vulnerable to traffickers.

To eliminate and minimize cases of child trafficking, DOLE and DOJ recommend that advocacy campaign on the rights of children be inculcated among school children through the Department of Education. (rmn/lpp/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA Website on Mar. 23, 2016)

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