The 10 days of leave afforded to victims of domestic violence would be grossly insufficient, if they seek redress before the court or undergo on counselling, said Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid.
On that note. Lapid filed Senate Bill No. 1078 which proposes to increase the number of minimum leaves for victims of domestic violence from 10 days to 20 days.
Lapid said the additional paid leaves will be needed for those who will go through legal proceedings and will go to court once a month.
“The same can be said for counseling and therapy that needs to be= regular in order to be effective. Add to this the similar needs and frequency of appointments for the minor children of women who have also suffered domestic violence,” Lapid said.
The Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act currently provides 10 days paid leave from work for victims of abuse to afford them an opportunity to pursue legal proceedings, relocate their residence, care for their children, or attend counseling sessions.
This is because the burden that victims of domestic violence bear does not end upon emancipating themselves from their abusive partners. Victims must overcome legal, medical, social and financial hurdles in order to be fully independent and self-sufficient.
Violence against women and children (VAWC) has intensified over the years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Philippine Commission on Women received nearly triple the number of complaints and reports of VAWC cases.
Accordingly, from March to November 2020, there had been 13,923 reported cases – 9,176 of which were cases againstwomen while the remaining 4,747 were against children.
While the VAWC Act allows extension of the 10 days of leave presently provided, the extension would have to be upon the approval and determination of the court.
This bill however proposes that the minimum number of leaves needed by victims of domestic violence should be available to them immediately upon court determination that they are indeed suffering from domestic abuse – as opposed to the need to further establish and justify the need for more than 10 days leave.
This bill also ensures that the number of leaves may be allocated throughout the entire period of the legal proceedings and/or medical treatment, counselling or therapy.
In this regard, this piece of legislation hopes to empower victims of domestic abuse to recover from the trauma of their past by helping them put in order their medical, legal, and domestic needs.