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Written by Edna Estal   

Press Release

April 4, 2016

End Violence against Children!


As part of the global initiatives to end Violence Against Children (VAC), a research forum entitled “Boy & Girls At Risk” in conjunction with the first ever national baseline study on the magnitude and extent of VAC in the county (Philippines) was conducted on March 31-April 1, 2016 in Manila Hotel.  The Council for the Welfare of Children organized the activity in collaboration with UNICEF Manila, Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health/Institute of Health Policy and Development Studies and Child Protection Network.


One hundred eighty (180) people participated in the forum from different fields of profession composed of national government agencies, non-government organizations, and academe together with DSWD Hon. Sec. Corazon Juliano- Soliman, Executive Director Patricia B. Luna and Deputy Executive Director Atty. Marijoy Segui, UNICEF Country Representative Lotta Sylwander, Mr. Stephen Blight of UNICEF-EAPRO.


DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said that the NBS-VAC provides an opportunity to have a better grasp of the situation of children vulnerable to abuse and ensures that the response provided to them is appropriate and timely.  She quoted that there is an African adage that goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” With this launch, we are reaffirming that sense of community. We are one village raising our children in a society that values them, cares for them, and loves them – because a community that values and cares for its children instills confidence and caring in them that will enable them to participate in the same community and help shape its values towards building a better and stronger nation.


The highlight of the forum is the presentation of the preliminary result of the Philippine VAC Study with emphasis on Boys and Girls at Risk by UP-Manila Prof. Laurie Ramiro, which aimed to obtain a national estimate of the prevalence of various forms of VAC in the country and to gather information on the status of child protection in local government units in terms of resources and prevention readiness. The study covered a total of 172 barangays nationwide, with a final sample size of 4,283 sample size consisting of 13 – 24 years old respondents. The overall study design for quantitative research is prevalence study and for qualitative research is the community stakeholder’s study and the methodology used is the concurrent mixed design.  The data collection for the study was completed in August 2015 and preliminary results/findings were shared during the Ako para sa Bata, The International Conference last December 1-2, 2015 in Cebu City.


Relevant presentations by experts ensued during the first day.  Among the topics discussed were as follows: Philippine Systematic Literature Review on VAC by Dr. Bernadette Madrid; Corporal Punishment by Prof. Lianne Alampay; Trust, Power, and Violence by Dr. Elizabeth de Castro; Culture and Violence by Dr. Michael Tan; Masculinity:  What do Filipino boys learn? by Mr. Jay Yacat; and, The Role of Gender in Violence by Prof. Carol Sobritchea.


For the second day, presentations discussed were equally interesting and important namely:  VAC and the exploitation and Abuse of Children Online by Ms. Marie-Laure Lemineur; VAC and Child Online Protection by Ms. Sarah Norton-Staal; Engaging community in child sexual abuse prevention online and offline by Afrooz Kaviani  Johnson; Building Capacity/Skills for Prevention and Response by Ms. Stephanie McCourt; Legislation and Policy Opportunities within VAC Interventions to Prevent VAC using Advocacy and Policy by Ms. Wilma Banaga; Philippine Age of Sexual Consent/Statutory Rape by Dean Sedfrey Candelaria; Understanding Filipino Family Norms by Prof. Belen Medina; Migration Orphans by Dr. Norietta Balderrama; Parenting Filipno Children Under Stress by Dr. Lourdes Carandang; Interventions to Prevent Violence Strategies to Prevent Child Maltreatment by Dr. Susan Mercado; Family Development Session and Child Protection by Dir. Leonardo C. Reynoso; Poverty, Social Protection and Equity by UP Vice Chancellor Nymia Simbulan.


To conclude the two-day research forum, CWC Executive Director Luna captured the attention of the participants by providing the challenges, recommendations and next steps to take from this forum.  The preliminary result of the VAC study is just the beginning of more tedious works ahead of us.  Our participation in the forthcoming International and Local activities such as: Knowledge Exchange on Effective Strategies for Violence Prevention in Kuala Lumpur in November 2016; Asia VAC Meeting in Beijing on  26-27 April 2016; National Children’s Conference, Summit; National & Regional dissemination of the NBS-VAC result; Conduct workshops fora to review and respond to results VAC through development of multi-sectoral response plan and the launch of the NBS-VAC on October 7, 2016 are all geared towards making our country VAC free.

 

“We need to act, STOP Violence Against Children NOW!”