I want to be enlightened on the possible acts that may have been violated in my situation in relation to Republic Act (RA) 9262. My husband has not given any financial support to our children. Also, there are times when my husband would threaten our daughter that he will force her into prostitution should she not study well in school.
Our barangay (village) chairman told me that I can file a case for violation of RA 9262, but I have no idea what it is all about. Can you please tell me what this law is before I file a case against my husband, and where can I file it?
Thank you very much,
Under Section 3 of Republic Act (RA) 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, violence against women and their children (VAWC) refers to any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual psychological harm or suffering or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, (i) physical violence; (ii) sexual violence; (iii) psychological violence; and (iv) economic abuse.
As defined by the aforementioned section of RA 9262:
“A. “Physical violence” refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;
B. “Sexual violence” refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her child. It includes, but is not limited to:
a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object, making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the sexual parts of the victim’s body, forcing her/him to watch obscene publications and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser;
b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion;
c) Prostituting the woman or child.
C. “Psychological violence” refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and mental infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children.
D. “Economic abuse” refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent which includes, but is not limited to the following:
1. withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in Article 73 of the Family Code;
2. deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common;
3. destroying household property;
4. controlling the victims’ own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or properties.” (Emphasis supplied)
Based on the foregoing, it is apparent that your husband has committed psychological violence and economic abuse against you and your daughter, which are among the forms of violence cited in RA 9262.
With regard to your second question, Section 7 of RA 9262 states that generally, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) designated as a Family Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their children under this law. In the absence of such court, however, the case shall be filed in the RTC where the crime or any of its elements was committed. Section 7 of RA 9262 provides:
“SECTION 7. Venue.- The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their children under this law. In the absence of such court in the place where the offense was committed, the case shall be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was committed at the option of the compliant.”
We find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated. We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com.