PH gov't urged to protect women, children vs domestic violence, abuse amid lockdown

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 6) — As millions of Filipinos are ordered to stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus, several rights groups warned against the likely rise in domestic violence and child abuse cases at home.

The Commission on Human Rights Philippines said with the imposition of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine and provincial lockdowns, women and children who experience physical, psychological, and sexual abuse are trapped inside the homes they share with their abusers.

UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women Dubravka Simonovic said it is very likely that rates of widespread domestic violence will increase and worsen considerably in cases of isolation such as lockdowns imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. CHR said the exact data of domestic violent cases during the global health crisis are hard to determine as cases mostly remain unreported. It said increased threats to women and children are a recurring pattern during nationwide conflict, natural disasters, or disease outbreak.

CHR urged the Duterte administration to come up with measures to prevent this, while protecting the vulnerable sectors.

"We encourage the government to adopt measures ensuring that victims of abuses have access to legal aid, such as restraining orders even during crisis; to provide safe shelters and financial aid for those who wanted to leave their house; and to provide medical and psychological care through helpline services which victims could access via online chats and texting services as calls might not be the most safe way of reporting," it said in a statement on Sunday.

Victims of domestic violence and child abuse can call the following hotlines:

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)

Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City

Tel. No.: 8931-8101 to 07

DSWD – NCR Ugnayan Pag-asa Crisis Intervention Center

Legarda, Manila

Tel. No.: 8734-8639/ 8734-8626 to 27

Philippine National Police (PNP)

Camp Crame, Quezon City

Tel. No.: 8723-0401 to 20

PNP-Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC)

Camp Crame, Quezon City

Tel. No.: 8723-0401 (local 5260, 5261)

NBI-Violence Against Women and Children Desk (VAWCD)

Taft Avenue, Manila

Tel. No.: 8523-8231 to 38 / 8525-6028