Domestic violence is a phenomenon which cripples the family and leaves its members mentally and emotionally scarred. It can be defined as physical, sexual, and psychological violence occurring in the family/household. It may be classified as wife battering, wife assault, woman abuse, marital violence, wife cruelty, and family violence.

As the lead agency in social protection, and as the celebration of National Women’s Month comes to a close, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to advocate for the strengthening of the family, and to put a stop to domestic violence.

“As one of the Philippine government’s initiatives to address the issue of violence against women, it is urgent that all government agencies take the lead in implementing and enforcing Republic Act No. 9262 or the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004”. Under this Act, violence against women is classified as a public crime and penalizes all forms of abuse and violence within the family and intimate relationships, hence all women should be aware where to report cases of violence committed against them.” DSWD Officer-In-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco said.

Based on the preliminary findings of the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), “one in four or 26% of ever-married women aged 15-49 has ever experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence by their husband or partner. One in five or 20% of women has ever experienced emotional violence, 14 percent has ever experienced physical violence, and 5 percent has ever experienced sexual violence by their current or most recent husband or partner.”

“Among the ways to lessen the occurrence of incidents of domestic violence is to focus on the over-all mental, emotional and physical health and well-being of family members. For instance, if the husband does not have any vices, such as drinking and gambling, he will be less prone to abuse his wife and children.  Good health has a positive effect on the family, and the healthier the parents and children are, the better the chances that they will have happier and healthier lives,” OIC Leyco explained.

There is also a study conducted by the American addiction on alcoholism and family/marital problems which indicates that among individuals who attack a spouse or partner, 60-70 percent had abused alcohol. “Although the prevalence of alcohol in abuse situations does not necessarily mean that drinking causes the domestic violence, it may be a factor in the violence.”

OIC Leyco also reacted to the NDHS survey which showed that 51.8% of women experienced domestic violence in Caraga region.

He explained that as chair of the Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Trafficking-and VAWC (RIACAT-VAWC) and member of the Regional Development Council-Regional Gender and Development Committee (RDC-RGADC), the DSWD Field Office in Caraga continues its technical assistance provision to the local government units (LGUs) ensuring their establishment and the functionality of VAW desks.

In 2017, the RIACAT-VAWC initiated the institutionalization of the Local Committee Against Trafficking (LCAT)-VAWC in the 5 provinces and 6 cities in the region, and the inclusion of all the municipalities in Caraga in 2018. Part of the advocacy efforts of the committee are the following: conduct of of Buntis (Pregnant Women) Congress during the annual celebration of the 18-day campaign to end VAW; establishment of trafficking and VAWC hotline and strengthened partnership with the law enforcement authorities; inclusion of VAWC law as one of the topics in the Family Development Sessions (FDS) of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, and in the information caravan/orientation at schools.

The RDC-RGADC also proposed a resolution to include the LCAT-VAWC functionality in the indicators of the awards on Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), Child-Friendly LGU, and LSWDO functionality. During the International Women’s Day celebration on March 8, 2018, the RDC-RGADC also launched the “Most Gender-Responsive LGU” to highlight the LGUs’ initiatives on GAD and advocacy activities against VAWC.

OIC Leyco added that the Department’s Pantawid Pamilya Program conduct Family Development Sessions which beneficiaries should regularly attend as one of the conditionalities. Among the modules discussed during the FDS are husband-wife relationships and the respective roles and responsibilities of such, as well as responsible parenthood including positive disciplining of children.

“Our beneficiaries relate that the lessons they learn from the modules taught to them during the FDS sessions help them to strengthen their family relationships and  they are encouraged to be better parents,” OIC Leyco ended. ###