Not all victims and survivors of hate crimes and physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse have someone to turn to. But they can now access the 911 national emergency hotline that accepts calls related to Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
The country’s justice, social welfare, and interior departments signed a joint memorandum circular (JMC) last December 7, stating that they have developed the 911 hotline to be “a more inclusive response system for VAWC and GBV cases.”
Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Chairperson Sandra Montano shared that the JMC included guidelines on how to conduct psychological first-aid in a survivor-centered manner. The telecommunicators have been trained to handle cases related to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE), VAW, and GBV.
Montano noted that the inclusion of VAWC and GBV stemmed from the alarming prevalence of crimes involving women and children victims. It was also born out of the need to put up a more effective and accessible reporting mechanism.
A report by PhilStar stated that an average of eight people a day were sexually assaulted during the early months of 2020, showing that local incidences of VAWC and GBV were present amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PCW chairperson added, ’Any woman, victim-survivor, or informant can now call the 911 hotline whenever they find themselves or other people in a situation involving VAWC and GBV at home, in school, or work. Anytime, anywhere.’
The 911 emergency hotline is free, and available 24/7.
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