ABOUT 80 percent of Filipino children had or is still experiencing violence, a new study released by United Nations Children’s Fund’s Council for the Welfare of Children revealed on Tuesday.
Details of the study was revealed during a press conference held at the Manila Hotel with Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Philippine General Hospital’s Dr. Bernadette Madrid, and Unicef representatives.
According to the Unicef, this is the first-ever National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children and was conducted in 2015 among 4,000 child respondents from across all sectors and socio-economic backgrounds aged 13 to 24.
According to the study, total prevalence of all forms of violence against children is at 80 percent; with boys at 81.5 percent; and girls at 78.4 percent. The reason why boys have higher prevalence than girls is because the study cited details that sexual violence started with the seduction of boys by predators.
One in three children experiences physical violence, with more than half of this happening at home. Most common cases of violence at home are corporal punishment committed by parents and siblings.
Three in five children experience psychological violence in the form of verbal abuse, threats or neglect.
One in five children below age 18 have experienced sexual violence while growing up.
Common perpetrators of sexual violence are brothers or cousins. Among males who experienced sexual violence, frequent perpetrators are cousins, fathers and brothers.
And, nearly half of children experience violence online, whether sexual violence or cyber-bullying.
“We at the Department of Social Welfare and Development call on our units to take a more pro-active role when it comes to reporting cases of child abuse. More importantly, we want to promote a mindset among Filipinos that child abuse is wrong and should not be allowed in a society that claims to have respect for children’s rights,” Taguiwalo said.
Taguiwalo also called on the delegation to make use of the results of the NBS-VAC as basis for enhancing legislation, policies, programs, and interventions for children; and enhancing the capacity of all service providers in order to prevent and respond to violence against children in the Philippines.
On the other hand, Unicef expressed deep concern for the prevalence.
“It is of deep concern that so many forms of violence pervade and harm the lives of Filipino children across all settings, committed by people they trust. The evidence demonstrates the need for expressed high-level government commitment and partner support to implement the National Action Plan to respond to and prevent VAC,” Unicef Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander said.
Sylwander also cited the Philippine government’s commitment to the United Nations sustainable development goals, in which VAC is a worldwide priority agenda to “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children.”
“We cannot do it alone. A single agency cannot create the impact or achieve our vision for a VAC-free society. It being a multi-faceted issue calls for strategic actions. We need to put all our acts together and more importantly, harmonize our actions,” said Taguiwalo.
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