The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Thursday sought help from ordinary Filipinos and concerned agencies to end the child abuse menace in the country.
DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said the department is augmenting its program to stop child abuse in the country by disseminating information and implementing psychosocial interventions geared toward recovery, healing and reintegration of victims into society.
A DSWD report showed that a total of 2,147 cases of child abuse need immediate assistance from various concerned agencies.
“Gusto po natin ng isang lipunan kung saan ang karapatan ng mga batang Pilipino ay iginagalang at pinoprotektahan. Hindi namin ito magagawa kung walang mga taong tutulong upang proteksyunan ang kaligtasan nila [We want to promote a society where the rights of Filipino children are respected and protected. We cannot do this alone without the help of citizens who are concerned about our children’s welfare],” Taguiwalo said in a statement.
In the first six months of 2016, according to the report, sexual abuse topped the table with 539 complaints followed by neglect (514 cases), abandonment (487 cases), sexual exploitation (233 cases), trafficking (214 cases), physical abuse and maltreatment (83 cases), illegal recruitment (47 cases) and child labor (13 cases).
Taguiwalo asked the public to report child-abuse cases to authorities.
“Pigilan po natin ang pagdami ng kaso ng child abuse! Protektahan natin ang kaligtasan at kagalingan ng mga bata laban sa pang-aabuso sa anumang porma. I-report ang mga nakikitang insidente ng child abuse at exploitation [Let us prevent the increasing number of child-abuse cases! We need to protect the safety and welfare of our children against all forms of abuse. Report any incident of child abuse and exploitation],” she said.
According to the DSWD secretary, the victims themselves may also file their complaints, or other people in their behalf such as parent/s, relatives, barangay (village) chairmen, social workers, and they will be assured of anonymity and free from any civil and administrative liability.
Any person who will file a complaint may provide the basic information on the victim and the accused and any relevant information on possible child abuse will be investigated by authorities.
The abused, meanwhile, will be insured of necessary assistance including treatment for physical and emotional trauma, as well as medical treatment.
The victim will also be placed under the protective custody of the DSWD, and the authorities will be filing appropriate charges against the suspect.
The department said failure to report a child-abuse case will carry a fine of P2,000.