THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 served more community-based Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) clients in 2020 than in 2019.
The DSWD 7, in its Gender and Development accomplishment report for 2019-2020, reported that it served 9,230 community-based clients in 2020 from only 265 in 2019.
Lilibeth Cabiara, DSWD 7 women’s sector focal person, said community-based is preventive, rehabilitative and developmental programs and initiatives that mobilize or use the family and community to respond to a problem, need, issue or concern of children, youth, women, persons with disabilities, older persons and families who are in need and at risk.
She said these clients are women and children who reported experiences of physical abuse, illegal recruitment, victims of trafficking and other circumstances needing DSWD assistance such as acquisition of child custody and child support, emotional abuse, women in especially difficult circumstances (WEDC), lack of financial support, documentary-related problems (amnesty) and victim survivors of unfair labor practices (e.g. mistreatment, breach of contract, non-payment of or low salary, no food, overwork and no day off).
Of the 265 community-based clients served in 2019, majority or 189 were victims of trafficking, 41 were involved in matters of child support issue, 26 were for child custody, eight were for lack of financial support, and one was for WEDC.
Of the 9,230 community-based clients served in 2020, majority or 9,065 were WEDC; 69 were victims survivor of unfair labor practice; 19 were physically abused, battered or maltreated; 17 were for issues of child support; 14 were for child custody; 13 were victims of illegal recruitment; and three were for documentary-related problems.
Cabiara said WEDC are those women who go to the Crisis Intervention Unit seeking burial, medical, transportation and education assistance and the like.
In a previous SunStar Cebu report, Cabiara said the Covid-19 pandemic increases the “possibilities and factors for women to experience violence” because of decreased alternatives for income, unemployment, and community and home quarantines.
Aside from community-based clients, the DSWD 7 also catered to 277 center-based clients.
This is lower than the 530 center-based clients served in 2019.
Cabiara said center-based is categorized into two: one is center-based, a non-residential facility that implements programs and provides services to persons with disabilities and other special groups particularly on vocational/social rehabilitation and skills training for socio-economic independence and productivity like the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center.
Residential care facilities like Regional Haven for Women in Katipunan, Cebu City and Home for Girls on A. Lopez St., Cebu City are facilities that provide 24-hour alternative family care to poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals and families in crisis whose need cannot be met by their families and relatives or by any other form of alternative family care for a period of time, she said.
Of the 530 center-based clients the agency served in 2019, 139 were victims of sexual abuse (rape - 92 and incest - 47); 84 were sexually exploited (one was a victim of prostitution, 46 were victims of pornography and 37 were victims of cyber-pornography); 37 were physically maltreated; 86 were victims of trafficking; five were abandoned; 14 were neglected; 11 were women in conflict with the law; 31 were psychologically/emotionally abused; two were street families; and 121 were tagged as other clients.
In 2020, 87 were victims of sexual abuse (rape - 40, incest - 44, and acts of lasciviousness-3); 45 were sexually exploited (four were victims of prostitution and 41 were victims of cyber-pornography); 18 were physically maltreated; 38 were victims of trafficking; one was abandoned; one was neglected; one was a woman in conflict with the law; 18 were psychologically/emotionally abused; 57 were tagged as other clients; and 11 persons were with disabilities.
The DSWD 7 earlier admitted that it had difficulty accepting referrals and reaching out to victims of VAWC cases during the implementation of the localized lockdowns as the agency had been tapped to help in the programs and services geared to address the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. (WBS)