Philippine Government, UNICEF and Partners share first-ever national study results on violence against children

4:07:00 AM

A show of unity at the launch of the results of the first-ever National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children (NBS-VAC): UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander and DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, flanked by (from left): Christian Saludar, a child representative who delivered a message to the press on children's rights and issues; CWC Executive Director Patricia Luna; Child Protection Network Executive Director Dr Bernadette Madrid; and UP-Manila Prof Laurie Ramiro, head of the research team. (C) UNICEF Philippines/2016/A. Torralba

The Council for the Welfare of Children, supported by UNICEF and NGO partners, has held the national launch of the results of the first-ever National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children (NBS-VAC) that details high incidences and various forms of violence committed against children.

The event also identified priority action plans and calls for concerted efforts among all sectors for a coordinated advocacy and stronger response to VAC.

Sec Judy Taguiwalo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, answering media queries at the launch of the first-ever National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children (NBS-VAC). She stressed the importance of a concerted advocacy and National Plan of Action to address VAC in the Philippines; and urged advocates to continue supporting the government's work on children's welfare and development. (C) UNICEF Philippines/2016/A. Torralba

“We at the Department of Social Welfare and Development call on our units to take a more pro-active role when it comes to reporting cases of child abuse. More importantly, we want to promote a mindset among Filipinos that child abuse is wrong and should not be allowed in a society that claims to have respect for children’s rights,” DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said. She also called on the delegation to make use of the results of the [NBS-VAC] as basis for enhancing legislation, policies, programmes, and interventions for children; and enhancing the capacity of all service-providers in order to prevent and respond to violence against children in the Philippines.

The study was conducted in 2015 nationwide, among almost 4,000 child respondents from across all sectors and socio-economic backgrounds aged 13-24. Some highlights of the NBS-VAC are as follows:
-          Total prevalence of all forms of violence against children is at 80%; with boys at 81.5% and girls, 78.4%.
-          1 in 3 children experiences physical violence, with more than half of this happening at home
-          Most common cases of violence at home are corporal punishment committed by parents and siblings
-          3 in 5 children experience psychological violence; in the form of verbal abuse, threats or neglect
-          1 in 5 children below age 18 have experienced sexual violence while growing up
-          Common perpetrators of sexual violence are brothers or cousins. Among males who experienced sexual violence, frequent perpetrators are cousins, fathers and brothers.
-          Nearly half of children experience violence online, whether sexual violence or cyber-bullying

UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander affixing her signature on the multi-sectoral Declaration of Commitment to End Violence Against Children in the Philippines; at the launch of the results of the first-ever National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children (NBS-VAC). UNICEF supports the government in carrying out the study and developing the National Plan of Action for implementation in 2017. 
(C) UNICEF Philippines/2016/A. Torralba

“It is of deep concern that so many forms of violence pervade and harm the lives of Filipino children across all settings, committed by people they trust. The evidence demonstrates the need for expressed high-level government commitment and partner support to implement the National Plan of Action to respond to and prevent VAC,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander said. Ms Sylwander also cited the Philippine government’s commitment to the UN sustainable development goals (SGDs), in which VAC is a worldwide priority agenda to “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children (SDG 16.2).”

At the Launch, the key findings of the study were presented, along with a systematic literature review of local and international sources. It also highlighted the presentation of the results of the 4th Philippine National Children’s Consultation last May, which CWC and UNICEF hosted, in which over 200 child representatives from across the country discussed their opinions and experiences on VAC at a community level.

Keynote speakers have also spoken about how the Study’s results can drive policy reforms and improve national child protection mechanisms; enable stronger cooperation between government and NGO partners as programme implementors; and share best-practices from across the region. Both Secretary Taguiwalo and Ms Sylwander urged the delegates to continue raising awareness among the broader public to elevate the discussion and highlight personal accountability among families and adult caregivers to uphold the rights and welfare of children.

Secretary Taguiwalo and Ms Sylwander joined CWC Executive Director Patricia Luna in gathering the speakers and delegates from Philippine government agencies; including DepEd Undersecretary Albert Muyot, NYC Chair Cariza Seguerra and PNP-WCPC PSSupt. Liborio Carabbacan; Susan Bisell of the Global Partnership to End VAC; Dr Bernadette Madrid of the Child Protection Network; and heads of other non-government organizations, faith-based organizations, academe, children representatives, media partners and other children’s advocates.

In a show of support, Filipino musicians Gary Valenciano and Ogie Alcasid performed special numbers and spoke of their views on protecting children from all forms of violence. Both artists are UNICEF and World Vision ambassadors, respectively.

The NBS-VAC was hosted by the National Steering Committee chaired by CWC and UNICEF, with the support of DSWD, the Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Justice; and NGO partners ChildFund, the Child Protection Network, Consuelo Foundation, Plan International, Save the Children, the UP-Manila National Institute of Health, and the World Health Organization.

We cannot do it alone. A single agency cannot create the impact or achieve our vision for a VAC-free society. It being a multi-faceted issue calls for strategic actions. We need to put all our acts together and more importantly, harmonize our actions,” Secretary Taguiwalo concluded. 

For further information, please contact:
Elino Bardillon, Head of Public Affairs and Information, Council for the Welfare of Children
Tel: +63 2 740 8864 ; Mobile: +63 977 678 2130; elbardillon@cwc.gov.ph

Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Philippines
Tel: +63 2 901 01 77, Mobile: +63 917 867 8366; zchowdhury@unicef.org

Mike Saycon, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Philippines
Tel: +63 2 901 01 73, Mobile: +63 915 135 9163; msaycon@unicef.org

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