A lawmaker is urging hospitals to establish a place in their facilities where victims of sexual assault can go for treatment and submit forensic evidence.
According to Rep. Mar-Len Abigail Binay of Makati City’s Second District, a hospital’s “safe place” would help encourage the victims to take legal action against their attackers.
“We have to encourage rape victims to at least have themselves checked up in the hospital so that they can receive treatment,” Binay, a lawyer, said in a statement on Sunday.
Saying the victims do not have to report the crime to have a medical examination, she cited the practice in the United States where a rape victim is usually first assessed by the hospital’s emergency department to ensure that any serious injuries or conditions are taken care of.
The victim is then referred to the hospital’s “safe place,” which is a sexual-assault examination unit, where victims can meet with law enforcement officials and provide evidence if they want to.
“Our hospitals here should also have sexual-assault examination units that can collect and safely store forensic evidence from rape victims, should they decide to report the offense at a later time,” Binay said.
According to the lawmaker, the number of rape cases reported nationwide during the first half of 2015 rose compared with the same period in 2014.
Citing data from the Philippine National Police, Binay said a total of 8,288 rape cases were reported across the country from January to June this year while 5,096 cases were documented over the same six-month period last year.
This meant an average of 46 rape cases logged daily without counting incidents that are not reported, the lawmaker added.
Binay—who is running for Makati City mayor in next year’s elections—said she would establish a “safe place” for rape victims at the state-run Ospital ng Makati.
“We will also ask all private hospitals in Makati to establish similar places,” she added.