By Minerva BC Newman
CEBU CITY – Physical injuries, rape, and acts of lasciviousness are among the top three abuses committed against children in Central Visayas during the period of 2015-2017, said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in region 7.
Grace Yana, DSWD-7 assistant regional director and focal person of the Regional Council for the Welfare of Children (RCWC-7) expressed the agency’s concern on the high rate of child exposure to both physical and sexual violence in the region.
Physical injuries and intentional mutilation, rape, and acts of lasciviousness are some forms of violence and the most prevalent ones, based on the statistics of Police Regional Office (PRO-7), Yana told Manila Bulletin.
According to Yana, based on police reports from 2015-2017 there were a total of 6,732 cases or crimes of violence against children in the region with 2,980 in 2015; 1,919 in 2016 and 1,833 in 2017.
Yana said these statistics are alarming because children are vulnerable to violence that has both short and long-term effects on their growth development and they may not recover from the physical and emotional trauma.
Incidents of physical injuries committed against children in a three-year period from 2015-2017 totaled to 2,834 which is about 42.29 percent of the total crimes on physical injuries, Yana said.
Rape, on the other hand, totaled 1,387 from 2015-2017 that is equivalent to about 21.27 percent of all crimes and violence against children in the region. Acts of lasciviousness and other acts of abuses against children recorded 2,341 (2015-2017) which is 33.57 percent of the crimes against them, Yana added.
According to the World Report on Violence and Health in 2002, violence against children is described as the “physical maltreatment, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, or commercial and other forms of exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power”.
Yana added that children who are exposed to violence are more likely to suffer from attachment problems, regressive behavior, anxiety, and depression, and to have aggression and conduct problems.
Violence against children can happen even in the safest haven for a child, which is the home. It also happens in schools, the community, workplace, in public places and even in cyberspace, Yana noted.
She went on that statistics likewise show these children are victims of people they know – their father or mother, extended family members, guardians, neighbors, teachers, and employers.
Yana also stated that violence committed by strangers also figure, especially with the advent of the age of internet where perpetrators such as the sexual predators and trolls can come from other parts of the world.