Communities can learn about the following policies confronting violence against women and children (VAWC) and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV).
Over the pandemic, violence against women and children (VAWC) and other forms of gender-based violence have risen. Communities need to become familiar with the various laws that protect their locals from harm so they can propose or better implement local policies that can prevent, mitigate, and cope with the cases in their areas.
1. Magna Carta of Women
Passed in 2009 in accordance with CEDAW, this law affirms landmark principles such as women's human rights, the role of women in nation-building, empowerment of women, and the integration of women's concerns in the mainstream of development, with particular attention to women in the marginalized sectors.
2. Anti-Rape Law
Passed in 1997, this law redefines rape, previously categorized as a crime against chastity, reclassifying it into a crime against persons. This law veers away from a framework where one may presume chastity is an element of the offense when it is not.
3. Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act
Before the passage of this law in 2004, victims of domestic abuse or battering were only able to file a criminal case on physical injuries or a civil case. Now, domestic abusers can file criminal or civil cases specific to domestic violence and abuse and access remedies and reliefs such as protection orders.
4. Anti-Sexual Harassment Act
Passed in 1995. This is a landmark law because, for the first time, sexual harassment was recognized as a crime under Philippine law. It addresses sexual harassment committed by superiors in workplaces and educational and training institutions. After passing this law, specific policies were issued by different government institutions.
5. Safe Spaces or Bawal Bastos Act
Passed in 2019, this law intends to expand the coverage of sexual harassment to include streets, public spaces, online, workplaces, and educational or training institutions. The law is still considered relatively new hence responsible agencies are still completing or revising their guidelines.
6. Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act
Passed in 2009, this law prohibits taking a photo or video coverage of a person/s performing sexual acts, or capturing an image of the private area of a person/s without consent and in which the person/s has/have a reasonable expectation of privacy; and copying, reproducing, selling or publishing such photos or videos.
7. Anti-Child Pornography Act
Passed in 2009, this law prohibits the production, offering, distribution and possession of "child pornography," wherein there is a material that shows a child (natural, or an adult portrayed as a child, animated or computer-generated) engaging in a real or simulated sexual activity. It also criminalizes the sexual grooming of children.
8. Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act
Passed in 2003, this law punishes the act of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, adoption, providing, offering, maintaining, or receipt of a child for pornography. This includes WCST, or the use of webcams in broadcasting sexual abuse of children to paying customers.
9. Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act
Passed in 1992, this law provides special protection to children and individuals who cannot protect themselves from harm due to a physical or mental disability or condition. It punishes the sexual abuse of a child, including child prostitution, child trafficking, other neglect of cruelty and abuse, obscene shows, and employment of children beyond safe parameters.
10. Anti-Child Marriage Act
Under the law passed in 2022, the facilitation and solemnization of child marriage and cohabitation of an adult with a child outside wedlock shall be declared "unlawful and prohibited acts." This includes any marriage, informal union, or cohabitation solemnized in civil or church proceedings or any recognized traditional, cultural, or customary manner.
There's more! To learn more about these policies and more gender-related laws, view this publication by the International Development Law Organization, UN Women, and the Philippine Commission on Women