Children in any country are its future. One way of addressing their needs particularly the most disadvantage in the Philippines is the promotion of foster parenting like in Australia. Please read this article in BusinessWorld (12 October 2011)
Most of abused children abandoned, neglected
OVER HALF of the number of abused children in the country are either abandoned or neglected, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said in an article posted on its Web site yesterday.
“By category, more than one-half of abused children served by the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) have either been abandoned or neglected, comprising the most common cases,” wrote NSCB Secretary-General Romulo A. Virola, citing 2009 and 2010 data from the DSWD, in his monthly column “Statistically Speaking.”
According to data from the Social Welfare department, in 2009, there were a total of 1,091 cases of abandoned children and 2,412 neglected children, or a combined ratio of 53.7% against the 6,524 total number of child abuse cases in the same year.
These figures, however, went down in 2010; the number of cases of abandoned and neglected children were recorded to be at 1,433 and 1,079, respectively, accounting for about 52.9% of the 4,749 child abuse cases last year.
Mr. Virola also noted that after neglected and abandoned children, the next most common case is sexual abuse, which comprised 29.6% of the cases in 2009 and 27.3% in 2010.
“Despite the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 (Republic Act 8353), the most common sexual abuse is rape, followed by incest and acts of lasciviousness,” Mr. Virola said. “One wonders whether the prohibition under RA 9346 in 2006 of the death penalty originally possible for convicted rape offenders under certain conditions has contributed to this social problem.”
Mr. Virola said that the increase to 37.5% in 2010 from 32.9% in 2009 of the proportion of incest cases to the total number of sexual abuse cases is “quite worrisome” and “calling attention to the breakdown of the family as a social institution.”
He also said that most of the sexually exploited children are prostitution or cyber pornography victims, pointing out that child prostitution cases slightly increased to 66 in 2010 from 63 in 2009.
Children victims of cyber pornography, meanwhile, make up 33.8% and 31.5% of the sexually exploited children victims in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
“While the absolute number of cyber pornography cases may be small, there could possibly be many more, as is probably the case with child prostitution, who have not sought help from the DSWD,” Mr. Virola said.
“This should serve as a stern warning about the danger of allowing children unguided access to the Internet.”
Overall, the number of child abuse cases served by the DSWD went down by about 27.2% (from 6,524 in 2009 to 4,749 in 2010). However, Mr. Virola said, this does not necessarily reflect a reduction in actual child abuse incidents.
“We do not know if this reflects a reduction in actual child abuse cases, or a reduction in the capacity of the DSWD to serve abused children,” he said.
The DSWD data for both years show that the regions with the most number of child abuse cases served by the agency were the National Capital Region, Central Visayas, Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley and Zamboanga Peninsula.
From 2009 to 2010, however, it was the Zamboanga Peninsula that accounted for the most reduction in child abuse cases. From 1,485 cases in 2009, the region’s tally of child abuse cases fell to only 231 in 2010.
As for the age of abused children, the data show that over half of them fall under the 14- to 18-year-old and 10- to 14-year-old brackets.
Further, around 25% of the abused children were five years old.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon J. Soliman could not be reached for comment. — Aubrey E. Barrameda