Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has urged the city residents particularly women and children to seek help through the city’s various programs so that they will be aware of their rights.
Belmonte made the appeal after she expressed concern over the reported increase in cases of violence against women and children in the city.
In his report presented during the QC Peace and Order Council meeting, QC Police District (QCPD) Director BGen. Antonio Yarra said that there is a 66.67% increase in VAWC cases and a 21.54% increase in rape cases for the first eight months of the year compared to the same period last year.
“We have launched a campaign to make women aware of their rights and make them advocates so they will be encouraged to report abuses,” Yarra said.
He also noted that the pandemic played a significant role in the upward trend, as most families are at home. Financial difficulties being experience by many families aggravated the situation.
Yarra added that most of the recorded cases were of physical abuse, with psychological abuse a distant second.
Belmonte, meanwhile, stressed that victims or their relatives and friends must report such abuses through the QC Protection Center through Hotline 122, or to the barangay and QCPD women’s desk.
She also directed the QCPD, QC Protection Center, and Gender and Development office to closely monitor and act swiftly on calls and reports pertaining to VAWC and other gender-based incidents.
“Nakakabahala ang mataas na numerong ito ng mga kaso ng pang-aabuso. Hindi natin ito maaaring palampasin, at kailangan gawan agad ng aksyon. Ang mga tahanan ay itinuturing nating safe space at dapat nating mapanatiling ligtas ang mga ito sa anumang uri ng karahasan. Ang mahalaga ay maiparating natin sa mga biktima na may matatakbuhan at may magtatanggol sa kanila,” Belmonte said.
Belmonte also reported that the city government together with the QCPD are set to launch a unified information management system to facilitate the monitoring and hasten the investigation of VAWC cases.
“Kailangan natin paigtingin pa ang ating mga programa para sa kaligtasan ng mga biktima ng karahasan. We cannot let any QCitizen suffer from gender-based violence in Quezon City especially during the pandemic,” she added.
Last year, the city government reopened the QC Protection Center for victim-survivors of gender-based violence and abuse. The protection center is a one stop shop that provides medical assistance, legal assistance and counselling.
The city also established the Bahay Kanlungan, a temporary shelter where victims are given safe refuge. The shelter has sixty (60) beds for women, children and LGBTs escaping violence and abuse in their homes.