Issue of September 8, 2019
Mt. Province
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Service providers train on how to deal w/ women, child abuse
by Susan C. Aro / PIA

The various facets in handling cases involving abuse of women and children are challenging, and service providers should have continuing professional development training to face the  difficult job.

Based on the latest Social Weather Stations survey on domestic violence, nine percent or about 2.16 million Filipino women 18 years old and above reported having experienced physical abuse.

Male (12 percent) respondents admitted having physically harmed someone usually their wives, partners or girlfriends, according to Dr. Marietta dela Cruz, a gynecologist and a member of the Benguet General Hospital-Women and Children Protection Unit (WCPU).

In Benguet, the 2018 WCPU report showed that women and children abuse totaled 214 of which 88 percent were sexually abused and 58 percent were physically abused.

Dr. Marjorie Rebujio said that cases of abuse against women and children were accommodated since 2010 when the WCPU started to operate.

Dela Cruz said violence is a challenge which entails high cost as it becomes a financial burden coupled with other non-measurable costs. It becomes burdensome due to the disability-adjusted life years (DALY) of the abuse.

DALY as defined by the World Health Organization is the sum of years of potential life lost due to premature mortality and the years of productive life lost due to disability
Dr.  Mary Jane Carrido, a pediatrician and co-chair of the WCPU, warned parents to be watchful on what their children access over the Internet particularly pornographic materials or intimate shows which they may be curious to imitate. 

In handling acute cases of abuse, Carrido said one of the problems encountered is the establishment of physical manifestations which could no longer be captured if not seen within 72 hours. If the prescribed period has lapsed, manifestations are no longer visible as healing already takes place, she said.

The provincial government through the WCPU recently gathered health workers, social workers and the police from various municipalities for a two-day enhanced training to equip them with the skills in recognizing, recording, reporting, and referring cases of abuse on women and children.

The participants  were taught on history-taking and gathering of relevant and accurate data, perform physical examination, determine necessary diagnostic tests, formulate treatment and management plan, coach the clients and their support persons or families on effective rehabilitation and therapy, accomplish the standardized documentations in handling a case, and refer to appropriate offices and professionals.

They were also coached  on communicating effectively to clients like establishing rapport, explaining  the management plan to the clients and their support persons, laymanizing  findings and recommendations, developing  effective information and education communication resources, and submitting  comprehensive documents as required by the WCPU and other agencies.

Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Benedict Pataras also briefed the participants on the legal framework for women and children and the important laws on Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) front liners such as Republic Act 7610 or Child Abuse law, RA 9231 or Child Labor Law, RA 9262 or the VAWC Law, RA 8353 or the New Rape Law, RA 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Law, among others.

Participants were also briefed on testifying in court, how to do safety and risk assessment for children, the holistic approach of healing and rehabilitation through a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) and the protocol on the management of cases which includes the monitoring of the progress of cases.

Apart from the medical workers, social workers and the police, the MDT also includes other institutions that the victim could be referred to for psychological, economic and other needs.

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