Jun 9, 2020

With quarantine measures and work-from-home setup in effect, a hidden ill becomes apparent and even more inescapable, especially for women and children: abuse.

Since March up to June 4, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has received a total of 1,945 cases of violence against women and 1,754 cases of violence against children.

[READ: Gender-based violence doesn’t stop just because the world does]

President Rodrigo Duterte included these alarming statistics in his 11th weekly report to Congress as part of his mandated duties under Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

The PNP Women and Children Protection Center, which is the concerned agency for these reports, said they are already reaching out to LGUs to curb instances of domestic abuse.

In his report, Duterte recommended the continued implementation of the Violence Against Women (VAW) Referral System, monitors and works out ways to reduce gender-based violence.

The nature of confinement during quarantine makes it difficult for women in abusive relationships to leave, especially when there is nowhere else safe to go amid the pandemic. This is one of the findings of a study by the Gender-Based Violence sub-cluster under the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Philippines.

“COVID-19 is creating additional economic and social pressures, such as loss of livelihood and food insecurity, which in turn is increasing the vulnerability of women and girls as those pressures potentially trigger violence,” a UN Women study published in April read.

The same UN study report that women face increased risk of gender-based violence, sexual harassment and exploitation by law enforcement even at COVID-19 checkpoints. 

Earlier in March, during National Women’s Month, reports of police and military sexual harassment at checkpoints surfaced. In one report, which went viral on Twitter, a woman who passed by a checkpoint said when her quarantine pass and driver’s license were returned from inspection, she found that the attending male officer had slipped his number inside.


Header art by Redgirl Lee. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives on Unsplash

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Read more:

Got any concerns about the quarantine? Call PNP’s “Helpline 16677”

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TAGS: children covid-19 domestic violence DSWD gender-based violence quarantine UN population fund violence against women violence against women and children women