In 2008, the Philippines National Police (PNP) reported that there has been a 21% increase in the number of cases of Violence Against Women (VAW) from that in 2007. Although the Philippines enacted several laws against Violence Against Women, access to and full implementation of these laws leave much to be desired. In August 2009, the government passed another Act – the “Magna Carta of Women (RA9710)”, with the expectation for it to be an umbrella legal enactment to promote gender equality and ensure the protection of women. The Magna Carta calls for training on human rights and gender sensitivity for all government personnel involved and all local government units (LGUs), and to establish a violence against women (VAW) desk in every barangay to ensure that VAW cases are fully addressed in a gender-responsive manner.
ASSIST, in partnership with WFS (Women’s Feature Service Philippines), WomenLEAD (Women’s Legal Education, Advocacy & Defense Foundation Inc.) and WCC (Women’s Crisis Center) collaborated to produce the “Justice and Healing Project” with the main goal of educating & capacitating the various components of the judicial system to be able to deliver rights-based and gender sensitive services with respect to VAW cases. The activities carried out to achieve these include barangay forums, stakeholder mapping and training for public-private prosecutors, paralegal and legal practitioners on the issue at hand. Moreover, the project included the development of both Legal Monographs on Gender Legal Issues and Protocol for Legal Service Provision.
Through the sessions provided by the project, NGOs are now better equipped & united to offer legal & psycho-social assistance to female victims. They are in constant dialogue and have worked closely with the government for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Prosecutors, lawyers and other members of the judiciary are sensitized & capacitated to adopt a gender-sensitive, victim-centric, CEDAW compliant, inquiry process while local authorities, the police, and communities at barangay level are united and continuously working towards a violence-free barangay.