The Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and Their Children (IACVAWC) was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004). To ensure the effective implementation of the law, twelve (12) agencies specifically tasked to formulate programs and projects to eliminate VAW based on their respective mandates, develop capability programs for their employees to become more sensitive to the needs of their clients, and to monitor all VAW initiatives were convened to form the Council. These agencies are:
- Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
- Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
- Civil Service Commission (CSC), Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
- Philippine Commission on Women (PCW)
- Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Department of Health (DOH)
- Department of Education (DepEd)
- Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
- Philippine National Police (PNP)
- Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC)
- National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
Section 54 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9262 stipulates the Council’s core functions as follows:
a) Promotion of Anti-VAWC Act
- Public information and advocacy
- Creation of mechanisms to ensure the integration of VAWC core messages in the programs of all stakeholders, specifically in the education, curriculum, training modules and manuals, and other VAWC-related documents
b) Capacity-building of stakeholders
- Continuous capacity-building programs stakeholders working on VAWC.
c) Development of comprehensive programs for victim-survivors
- Development of an integrated referral system between and among stakeholders to ensure a holistic approach in handling VAWC cases and standards for the delivery of services for victim survivors of VAWC to ensure the timely systematic, synchronized and effective response to cases of VAWC
- Assist in the filing of cases against individuals, groups, agencies, institutions or establishment that violate the provisions of the Act
d) Networking with other stakeholders
- Creation of mechanisms to ensure the participation of NGOs, academe, private sector, civic and religious grops in the implementation and monitoring of VAWC cases
e) Monitoring of the implementation of the Act
- Development and institutionalization of a monitoring and documentation system of VAWC cases;
- Issuance of policies/memoranda/circulars directing all stakeholders working on VAWC to submit periodic report on their VAWC-related efforts and services including VAWC statistics to the Council
- Directing them to immediately respond to the problems brought to their attention and report to the Council on actions taken
- Promulgate rules and regulations as may be necessary for the effective implementation of the Act;
- Monitor and oversee the strict implementation of the Act
- Exercise all the powers and perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes and objectives of the Act.
f) Conduct of research to include the integrated approach to eliminate VAWC, nature and root causes of VAWC, battered woman syndrome, violence within lesbian relationships, violence committed against marginalized women, rehabilitation of VAWC perpetrators and documentation of good practices as bases for policy formulation and program development.
Since the passage of the Law, the IACVAWC member agencies have made significant accomplishments in the areas of public information and advocacy, policy development, capacity building, service delivery, and monitoring. Various orientations on the Law were held and primers and other IEC materials were printed to reach as many people as possible on the importance of the law. Frontline service providers were given various trainings on the use and application of the Law in their anti-VAWC services. Specific programs addressing the special needs of VAWC victims were developed and implemented and various tools and systems are being developed to monitor and evaluate the implementation of anti-VAWC services.
The IACVAWC have formulated a strategic plan for 2007-2010 to achieve their vision of “A gender - fair and empowered society that protects its people especially women and children from any form of violence and exploitation thus enabling them to fully exercise their rights and participate in all development efforts, and experience a peaceful and fulfilling family and community life.”
The plan has the following objectives:
- Provide holistic, integrated and sustained programs and services for the protection of the rights and welfare of VAWC victim-survivors,
- Ensure the effective implementation of the Law through the establishment of efficient systems and mechanisms in government and capacitating service providers,
- Assist in the rehabilitation of perpetrators and prevention of future VAWC acts, and
Develop community-based mechanisms and programs to address issues of VAWC, including the care and support of victims and their children, as well as the non-tolerance of all forms of VAWC.
Specific Duties and Responsibilities of Council Member and Other Relevant Agencies
Specific duties and responsibilities of NGAs which are members of the Council and other relevant agencies as provided for in Section 50 and 61 of the IRR of RA 9262 are as follows:
a) Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
- Ensure the integration of VAWC core messages in its programs and projects;
- Conduct trainings on Gender Sensitivity, Women’s Human Rights and VAWC for all sectors, including the police, military, and members of investigating agencies;
- Develop/adopt gender-responsive procedures in handling VAWC cases including the preparation of applications for Protection Orders;
- Develop, produce and disseminate information and education materials on women’s human rights and gender sensitivity;
- Provide free legal assistance to victims of VAWC and other assistance under the human rights protection services including assistance in applying for BPO and protection orders in court;
- Integrate VAWC efforts in the Barangay Human Rights Action Center (BHRAC);
- Investigate and recommend for prosecution violations of the Act; and
- Monitor government compliance to international human rights treaty obligations related to the elimination of violence against women and children, particularly in the provisions of the UDHR, the CEDAW, CRC provisions and other international human rights instruments of which the Philippines is a party.
b) Civil Service Commission (CSC)
- In collaboration with concerned agencies to ensure the conduct of gender-sensitivity trainings (GSTs) and seminars/orientations on VAWC in all government agencies;
- Revise existing policies and regulations so as to incorporate the ten-day paid leave of absence for victim-survivors pursuant to the provisions of the law;
- Develop/adopt gender-responsive procedures in handling VAWC cases for government employees;
- Issue policies encouraging government workers to help in the prevention and protection of victims of VAWC;
- Lead in the development of a monitoring system to ensure compliance by all government entities to the government policies on VAWC; and
- Integrate appropriate VAWC core messages in the Values Orientation Workshop (VOW) modules.
c) Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC)
- Integrate in its development and strategic frameworks issues and concerns affecting abused children and ensure the adoption of such frameworks by the LGUs and other stakeholders;
- Vigorously advocate against VAWC;
- Adopt policies and measures that will protect and promote the rights and welfare of children victims of VAWC and coordinate and monitor their implementation; and
- Formulate plans, policies and program interventions to address VAWC.
d) Department of Education (DepEd)
- Conduct trainings for teachers on how to handle children, who are victim-survivors of VAWC in the home;
- Conduct gender sensitivity trainings and seminars on VAWC;
- Develop gender-fair curricula in elementary and secondary levels, produce gender-responsive instructional materials and integrate in the appropriate subject areas core messages on VAWC by providing lessons that emphasize the social costs and implications of VAWC;
- Train principals and teachers on the preparation of applications of BPOs. Teachers and principals shall assist victim-survivors in preparing applications for BPOs when requested by the victim-survivors or barangay officials;
- Develop protocols in handling students, personnel, teachers who are suspected to be victim-survivors or perpetrators of VAWC; and
- Establish school-based intervention programs for VAWC.
e) Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
- Issue policies and guidelines to ensure sustained implementation of the provisions of the Act and its IRR to include strengthening the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) and Sangguniang Committee on Women and Family (SCWF);
- Conduct IEC programs such as, but not limited to, education and information campaign and seminars or symposia on the nature, cause, incidence and consequences of such violence particularly towards educating the LGUs including barangay and its employees on the social impacts of VAWC;
- In coordination with the IAC-VAWC, formulate programs and projects to effectively implement Anti-VAWC law, including but not limited to the following: a) conduct of a massive information and education campaign on the law; b) development/issuance of supplemental guidelines/standards;
- Ensure the continuous capacity building activities for its employees as well as the local officials and staff;
- Monitor implementation of the Act in the LGUs to ensure full compliance; and
- Utilize its training and education arms such as the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) and the Local Government Academy (LGA) for their continuing training and capacity-building on Anti-VAWC and other related laws.
f) Department of Health (DOH)
- Strengthen/establish Women and Children Protection Units (WCPUs) in DOH Hospitals for the health care of women and children victim-survivor of violence;
- Provide immediate personalized, gender-sensitive medical assistance to victim-survivors of violence;
- Develop and adopt a uniformed medical protocol for all victim-survivors of violence;
- Create a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure compliance of medical practitioners to the provisions of the Act;
- Provide relevant training to WCPU staff on women and children protection which includes appropriate medical management, forensic examination, gender-sensitive counseling and interviewing skills;
- Equip WCPU doctors with knowledge and skills that will enable them to act as expert witnesses in court, if necessary;
- Ensure validity and confidentiality of medical records;
- Coordinate with other government agencies and NGOs for a more organized approach to address other nonmedical needs of the victim-survivor; and
- Conduct consultation workshops to integrate gender perspective in policy guidelines and trainings for gender and health.
Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Ensure the immediate prosecution of violators of the Act;
- Designate and train special prosecutors who shall investigate and prosecute VAWC cases;
- Establish a mechanism for free legal assistance for VAWC cases, in coordination with the DSWD, Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), NGOs and volunteer groups;
- Conduct training and continuing education programs specifically for prosecutors, public attorneys and those involve in VAWC cases;
- Review and recommend policies and measures to enhance protection of VAWC victim-survivors;
- Develop/adopt gender-responsive procedures in handling VAWC cases; institutionalize mechanisms, review and update existing policies to ensure the gender-sensitivity and gender-responsiveness of the Witness Protection and Benefit Program;
- If necessary, revise the Rules of the National Prosecution Service to ensure that cases of VAWC under the Act shall have priority over all other pending cases;
- Ensure appropriate and speedy disposition of VAWC cases within forty-five (45) days; and
- Ensure that Regional Directors or Regional State Prosecutors shall make a monthly monitoring of VAWC cases to ensure the speedy disposition of cases.
h) Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
- Ensure the implementation of Sec. 43 of the Act;
- Monitor, document and report cases of VAWC specifically on children forced to work by their perpetrators;
- Conduct public awareness programs and activities to prevent victimization of women and children; and,
- Make available employment and livelihood programs that suit the skills of women victim-survivors of abuse to facilitate their recovery and reintegration into the communities.
i) Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
- Ensure the gender-responsiveness of all its programs and projects particularly those relating to VAWC;
- Ensure the nationwide implementation of the National Family Violence Prevention Program;
- Continue to improve center and community-based services and develop programs responsive to the needs and concerns of victim-survivors of VAWC;
- Raise gender-sensitivity among social workers and other direct-service providers, through: a) supporting the conduct of Gender-Sensitivity Trainings (GSTs) in 15 regional offices for DSWD staff; and b) review and ensure that policies and mechanisms in the Department, particularly its bureaus and attached agencies are gender-sensitive and gender-responsive;
- Develop and/or integrate VAWC core messages in the Code of Ethics of social workers;
- Make available productivity skills and other capability-building programs for VAWC victim-survivors;
- Develop program, rehabilitation, counseling and other support interventions to facilitate the recovery/healing and reintegration of victim-survivors of abuse into the communities;
- Conduct technical assistance and capability building programs for social welfare officers/social workers of LGUs, NGOs and other interest groups;
- Create mechanisms where women and girls can report VAWC cases in a safe and confidential environment, free from fear and retaliation;
- Develop programs to rehabilitate perpetrators;
- Adopt/develop procedures in handling VAWC cases;
- Accredit NGOs, counselors and social workers that provide programs and services to VAWC victim-survivors; and
- Periodically monitor and evaluate these NGOs to ensure that they meet the standards set by the Department
j) Philippine Commission on Women (formerly National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW))
- Conduct fora involving VAWC victim-survivors and women’s NGOs to generate and validate data on the accessibility and effectiveness of existing VAWC services;
- Actively advocate and participate in international and regional discussions and initiatives on VAWC and include the same in all international commitments and policy pronouncements;
- Assist the Council in the formulation and monitoring of policies addressing the issue of VAWC in coordination with relevant government agencies;
- Assist the Council in the conduct of information dissemination and training of frontline government agencies, NGOs and the general public;
- Assist in the development of a standardized gender-responsive documentation system, standardized core messages and VAWC protocols. Collect/research on the profile of existing VAWC services and facilities at the national and local level in coordination with other agencies such as the DSWD, DOH, PNP, NBI, NAPOLCOM, DOJ and NSCB; and
- Assist the Council in the formulation of prevention, counseling and rehabilitation programs for victims of VAWC.
k) National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
- In all its regional and provincial offices, provide one-stop shop for all the needed legal and medical services for VAWC victim-survivor;
- Develop/adopt a protocol in handling VAWC cases;
- Conduct regular inspection in the setting-up of one-stop shop facilities to ensure that procedures and personnel are gender-sensitive and gender responsive and monitor the activities in the respective Child
- Friendly Investigation Studios (CFIS) from time to time to determine its effectiveness and success in addressing cases of VAWC;
- Conduct trainings that will raise gender-sensitivity among NBI agents/investigators and personnel;
- Closely coordinate with all the Council member agencies for the effective detection and investigation of suspected VAWC perpetrators; and
- Formulate plans and programs for the detection and prevention of VAWC, and for the arrest and prosecution of suspected VAWC abusers/perpetrators.
l) Philippine National Police (PNP)
- Ensure the gender-responsiveness of the PNP protocols and procedures in handling VAWC cases;
- Establish an education and training program for police officers to enable the proper handling of cases of violence against women and their children;
- Develop and implement Police Protocol on Handling VAWC Cases under the Act and other related laws;
- Collaborate with barangay officials, government and non-government organizations, church and civic organizations in preventing VAWC;
- Revise its administrative disciplinary measures for police personnel who are administratively or criminally charged with committing acts under the Act;
- Develop and implement a nationwide community-based crime prevention program that deals with the issues of domestic/family violence, abuse of women in intimate relations, child abuse and juvenile delinquency, among other interrelated issues;
- Establish consciousness-raising and skills enhancement training programs in the form of all police personnel, including barangay officials and organized communities in coordination with the DILG, regarding the implementation of the Act, as well as related laws and international human rights conventions for the protection of women and children from various forms of violence and abuse;
- Formulate and provide regular issuances on institutional policies relevant to the improvement of law enforcement responses to cases under the Act as well as the development of the PNP as gender sensitive law enforcement institution;
- Coordinate with other government agencies and NGOs on the enhancement of programs and services for the protection of women and their children from various forms of violence cited under the Act; and
- Monitor the established mechanisms for compliance and commitment of the police personnel on the implementation of the Act.
Other Relevant Agencies.
Consistent with their mandates under existing laws, the following agencies shall specifically integrate VAWC issues in their strategy and program formulation and implement programs and services for the prevention and elimination of VAWC and for the protection of VAWC victim-survivor (Section 50, IRR of RA 9262)
a) Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)
- Ensure the integration of VAWC core messages all its policies, programs and projects;
- Conduct sustained and regular education and training of their officers and personnel on the prevention of VAWC;
- Develop re-integration and rehabilitation programs for VAWC perpetrators which shall focus on anger resolution and management, values reorientation, gender sensitivity, among others;
- Strengthen and sustain partnership with DSWD for the conduct of training programs for service providers and implementation of rehabilitative programs for perpetrators; and
- Develop program that addresses the needs of offenders with BWS.
b) Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
- Encourage state colleges, universities, and private institutions to conduct capacity building initiatives for professors, school personnel and administrator to eliminate VAWC;
- Integrate gender and development perspective, including the core messages on VAWC in school curricula; and
- Integrate VAWC core messages in CHED’s accreditation system.
c) Department of National Defense (DND)
- Develop and implement Protocol on Handling Cases of VAWC under the Act and other related laws;
- Collaborate with barangay officials, government and NGOs, church and civic groups in preventing VAWC;
- Train its personnel on the use of its Protocol and periodically revise it to ensure effectiveness; and
Revise its administrative disciplinary measures for military and civilian personnel who are administratively or criminally charged with committing acts under the Act.
The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) including other military and civilian training institutions and schools shall include in its curriculum, R.A. No. 9262 and all gender-based violence related laws and protocols.
d) National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM)
- Support national and international efforts towards eliminating VAWC and be actively involved in the drafting of practical measures, strategies and activities in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice administration for the elimination of VAWC;>
- Support programs that address problems and issues concerning women in the context of criminality, specifically as victim-survivors of VAWC crimes;
- Conduct regional forum and seminar workshop aimed to empower police officers through proper management;
- Advocate for and strengthen the conduct of gender sensitivity training (GST) and education for criminal justice practitioners in order to enhance their competence in the management of the VAWC cases;
- Establish Action Centers to receive complaints involving police officers nationwide;
- Develop/adopt a gender-responsive protocol in handling VAWC cases particularly for police officers and their families; and
- Inspect and audit PNP Women’s and Children’s Protection Desks (WCPD) to assess compliance with established criteria and performance standards; and
- Include in its rules for discipline of police personnel the penalty for those who committed VAWC
e) National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
- Create mechanism to ensure the integration of gender and development perspective in the programs and projects of NCIP to eliminate VAWC in Ancestral
- Domains and Territories occupied by ICCs/IPs;
- Coordinate with the member-agencies to effectively address the issues and concerns confronting the women and children of the ICCs/IPs as regards VAWC;
- Issue recommendations to the President and/or Heads of Agencies concerning VAWC in areas of ICCs/IPs;
- Undertake information, education and advocacy campaign on VAWC with due respect to the culture, traditions, and institutions of ICCs/IPs and translate information materials into the vernacular form to ensure understanding of the Act; and
- Create an ICC/IP Women Crisis Center in strategic areas where VAWC is rampant in Ancestral Domains and thereto provide ICC/IP contact persons who understands and can relate to their customs, beliefs and traditions.
f) National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB)
- Assist the Inter-agency Council on Violence Against Women (IAC-VAWC) in the development of a standardized gender-responsive documentation system on VAWC;
- Periodically release statistical series on women and men in the Philippines, including VAWC statistics; and
- Compile VAWC statistics from various government agencies, subject to the provision of resources under a specific budget line item in addition to the NSCB’s regular budget.
g) Office on Muslim Affairs (OMA)
- Integrate gender and development perspective, especially VAWC core messages in the programs and projects related to the promotion, development and enhancement of Muslim culture and institutions;
- Encourage participation of the Imam in addressing the issues related to VAWC in a gender-responsive manner;
- To the extent possible, eliminate/amend discriminatory practices in Muslim Code of Personal Laws; and
- Develop programs and projects to eliminate VAWC and other discriminatory practices among Muslims.
h) Philippine Information Agency (PIA)
- Enhance public awareness on VAWC, pertinent laws and possible actions to prevent victimization and revictimization through the implementation of public advocacy program as well as printing and distribution of information materials in vernacular form;
- Coordinate with the Council on public information campaigns in the provinces;
- Help ensure that all concerned government agencies are informed of the Act;
- Raise awareness of media practitioners in promoting non-stereotyped images of women and men, especially those that perpetuate violence;
- Integrate VAWC core messages in the Code of Conduct and Ethical Guidelines for Reporting VAWC cases; and
- Develop protocols in handling/reporting VAWC cases taking into consideration the privacy of the victim-survivors.
i) Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)
- Integrate gender and development perspective, specifically VAWC core messages in skills development programs;
- Conduct capacity building activities addressing the issues of VAWC for TEDSA instructors/trainers, personnel and students;
- Integrate VAWC core messages in the accreditation system for technical and vocational institutions; and
- To the extent possible, provide scholarships to victim-survivor of VAWC.
Section 51. Duties and Functions of Local Government Units. – The LGUs shall have the following roles and responsibilities:
a) Undertake massive education and information on the Act and other related laws;
b) Provide the victim-survivors temporary shelters, counseling, psychosocial services, recovery and rehabilitation programs;
c) Ensure the sustained education and training of their officials and personnel on the prevention of VAWC under the Act, including gender sensitivity seminars for service providers including the police, barangay officials, health personnel and social workers;
In coordination with PNP and other related agencies, establish an education and training program for police officers and barangay officials to enable them to properly handle cases of VAWC;
e) Develop and provide relevant community-based services for the rescue, recovery/rehabilitation and after-care services of victim-survivors of VAWC;
f) Strengthen coordination with the DSWD-Development Regional Offices, LGUs, NGOs and other concerned institutions for women and children on the continuous conduct of VAWC related trainings to service providers;
g) Provision of sustained programs and projects to ensure the protection and effective services for rehabilitation and integration of VAWC victim-survivors;
h) Monitor and document cases of victim-survivors of VAWC for purposes of data banking;
i) Enact ordinances aimed at providing protection and support to victim-survivors of VAWC; and
j) Strengthen, re-activate and mobilize existing committees/councils, similar organizations and special bodies at the provincial, city, municipal and barangay levels to prevent VAWC.