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Violence against children widespread among Filipinos

Council for the Welfare of Children planning officer Ruth Limson-Marayag said violence against children cuts across economic status. This was one of the findings during the consultation and presentation of a nationwide study conducted by CWC and UNICEF Philippines. (Melo M. Acuna)

MANILA, April 7, 2018–In a country of 103.3 million Filipinos (2016) with 86 percent of its people listed as Catholics (89 million), it is indeed surprising to know violence against children has become prevalent.

In a study which lasted for five years, it was found 80 percent of the 3,866 respondents aged 13-24 “experienced some form of violence in their lifetime.” It was reported these violent incidents took place at home, in school or workplace, their respective communities or during dating.

In an investigative report made by the government-run Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and UNICEF Philippines entitled “National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children: Philippines,” it was learned three in five of the respondents or 66.3 percent experienced any form of physical violence during childhood and more than half (60%) of these cases happened in the home.

One in two (54.5 percent) received corporal punishments in the home which included spanking with bare hand, rolled paper or small stick, hair pulling, punching or twisting of ears.

A third or 30 percent suffered more severe forms of abuse including slapping, kicking, smothering, tieing, drowning and even burning. Some 4.6 percent of the respondents were physically harmed at home and required hospitalization.

The study revealed more males (66.6 percent) experienced physical violence in the home more than females (62.5 percent). Mothers more than fathers, brothers and sisters were the most commonly identified perpetrators of physical violence in the home.

However, fathers were deemed responsible for most severe physical violence.

About 14.3 percent of those who attended school experienced physical violence in campus which included pinching (32.5 percent), being hit with an eraser or chalk (31.5 percent), twisting ears (25.8%) as well as spanking with a bare hand, rolled paperr or small stick (23.5 percent) by a teacher or an adult in school.

Of the children who ever worked, 7.1 percent of children received any form of physical violence in the workplace during childhood while some 2 percent of minors (children) with romantic partners reported having dealt with physical violence during dating.

More males (5.7 percent) claimed to have been physically harmed by their partners than females (3.1%).

Physical violence in the community was reported by some 12.5 percent of the child survey participants (respondents) with 10.6 percent reported of “milder” forms of corporal punishment including being smothered, tied-up or chained, made to stand with a heavy object or made to kneel on mung beans or peebles.

Ms. Ruth Limson-Marayag, a Planning Officer from the Council for the Welfare of Children said most of the respondents came from middle class families across the country.

“Violence against children cuts across economic status,” Ms. Limson Marayag added.

Speaking of psychological violence during childhood was estimated at 59.2 percent with 3 out of 5 have been verbally abused, threatened and abandoned by their parents or guardian. A third of the respondents or 33.0% of the children aged 13 and below 18 years reported to have experienced psychological violence in the past 12 months.

It was also learned a third experienced psychological violence in their homes, school and in the workplace while one in for in the community had such experiences. Nearly 13.5 percent were verbally abused and threated while dating with their partners.

The same study revealed 17.1 percent of children aged 13 to below 18 experienced any form of sexual violence while growing up with a prevalence of 1.6 percent was noted in the last 12 months. Sexual violence took place during dates, in the home, community, workplace and at school.

The most common forms of sexual coercion during first time dates include being sweet talked, verbal insistence, verbal blackmail and verbal deception.

With the advancement in technology, cyber violence has also been reported by 43.8 percent of chlldren aged above 13 and below 18 years old. A third reported verbal abuse over the internet or mobile phone while a fourth reported receiving sexual messages. (Melo M. Acuna / Bicol Times)

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