To further enhance the enforcement of child protection laws, the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), in cooperation with the Valenzuela Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) conducted an “Orientation in Handling Child Abuse Cases” at the Valenzuela City Auditorium last July 22, 2011.
Attended by more than 500 local law enforcers, educators, social workers and barangay representatives, the seminar focused on the presentation of various types of child abuse not commonly reported to authorities. Another topic discussed the protocol in handling cases on the local level.
Ms. Dorothy G. Evangelista, Officer-in-Charge of the CSWDO and LCPC Action Officer, noted that the purpose of the orientation is to know the law, particularly Republic Act 7610, otherwise known as, the Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. “It is our purpose to enlighten our participants that not only the text of the law is important, but its spirit which should guide us on our actions being the primary implementers of this law,” she said.
For the event, the LCPC invited experts from the Child Protection Unit of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) who shared not only their knowledge in the field, but also their personal take on the growing number of child abuse cases in the country.
The first speaker, Dr. Merle P. Tan, MD, is the Training Director of Child Protection Network, an organization of Child Protection Units (CPU) in the country mandated by the Department of Health (DOH) to aid abused children and those at risk of being abused. The CPU is tied-up with law enforcement bodies like the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). Dr. Tan made a clear and updated definition of child abuse and related laws.
Dr. Tan warned that the many cases of child-abuse are caused by neglect and that a large percentage of actual cases are perpetrated by people who are closest to the victim. “Sometimes, we are even unaware that we are already committing the abuse ourselves. Cases range from emotional and verbal to physical abuse,” she added.
Unfortunately, some of the cases, particularly child sexual abuse, go beyond the 72-hour standard of forensic evidence collection before they get reported. Handling issues with the barangay and police are one of the most commonly unobserved protocols regarding child abuse. “What our law enforcers need is to be updated on priority matters when handling certain cases,” said Ms. Dolores B. Rubia, MSW, a psychologist and Supervising Social Worker of the PGH-CPU. “Child abuse is complicated by the fact that more than one government agency is involved in solving it.”
“We need to know what a particular agency should limit itself into before we can determine the process of handling and endorsing a client,” she concluded.
The event was attended by Day Care teachers, Valenzuela City Police enforcers, officers of the Pederasyon ng mga Samahan para sa Pabahay at Kaunlaran Sa Valenzuela (PEPASAKAVA), representatives from DepEd-Valenzuela, the City Health Office and the Public Information Office (PIO).
Dr. Jaime Exconde, City Health Officer and Ms. Evangelista, presented the Plaque of Appreciation for the speakers.