Philippines: Steady Increase in Violence Against Women
Monday, June 11, 2012 12:40 PM

Philippine authorities report a rise of over 150% in the number of cases involving gender-based violence over the last five years. Approximately one in five Filipino women aged between 15 and 49 are estimated to have experienced physical violence. Societal attitudes towards gender-based violence likely increase the number of unreported cases. However, there appears to be no obvious explanation for the recent rise in abuse.
Growing awareness of laws enacted to protect women may be partly responsible for the increase. In 2004, the Violence Against Women and Children Law (RA 9262) made it possible for anybody, not just the victim, to file a case against an abuser. The law also redefined abuse to include physical, emotional and economic harm.
The National Police have established 1,800 Women and Children Protection Centers across the country and trained 3,038 female police officers in laws protecting women.
However, women make up only 11% of the national police force. The centers are often hampered by a lack of staff to handle the quantity of cases.
Distance from a police station may prevent some women in rural communities from being able to file abuse cases, according to a 2009 report by Amnesty International. In response the government produced guidelines for the creation of a Violence Against Women (VAW) desk in every barangay (the smallest unit of government). As of December 2011, 66% of barangays had a VAW desk.