8 of 10 children in the Philippines experienced violence

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Eight in 10 children and young people in the Philippines have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime that usually begins at home.

This is one of the findings of the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in their “National Baseline Study on Violence against Children (VAC),”  the first ever national study on violence against children in the Philippines.
The study showed that in the Philippines, “thousands of children are robbed of their childhood and suffer lifelong developmental challenges as a result of violence.” 

“Impacts include mental and physical health disorders, anxiety, depression and health-risk behaviors including smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse and engagement in high risk sexual activity,” the study stated. 

A total of of 3,866 children and youth aged 13 to 24 from 172 barangays in 17 regions were randomly selected to participate in the study. A total of 1,979 of them were males while 1,887 were females, with 2,303 of them belonging to the 13 to 18 age group. 

Majority were from the economic middle class while 55.6 percent came from rural areas and 44.4 percent from urban areas. 

According to CWC Planning Officer III Ruth Limsom-Marayag, 60.4 percent of physical violence “ironically” happened at home, followed by 14.3 percent in school, 12.5 percent in the community, 7.1 percent in the workplace and 6.2 percent during dating.
Marayag said the physical violence committed at home constitutes various forms of “corporal punishment” such as “spanking with bare hands, rolled paper or small stick, pulling of hair and pinching or twisting of ears.”

“What happens is that the parents think that this corporal punishment is a way to discipline their children which is very wrong. We should not use violence to discipline children,” she noted when she presented the study.

What is alarming, she noted, is that many children think that there is nothing wrong with being subjected to violent corporal punishment by their parents. 

“They think it is normal if their parents hit them because they are only being disciplined and being loved. They are becoming used to violence,” Marayag added. 

Violent discipline is driven by social norms around the use and effectiveness of discipline, authoritarian parenting and parents’ levels of education. 

The study showed that parental histories of physical abuse when children were growing up combined with financial stress and substance misuse create a “toxic trio” of risk factors for physical violence in the home.

On the other hand, majority of sexual violence takes place during dating at 14.1 percent; next is at home with 13.7 percent; in the community with 7.8 percent; workplace with 7.1 percent and in school with 5.3 percent. 

The study showed any form of violence could result in trauma and a vicious cycle due to the mentality that using physical force is normal. 

“Experiencing childhood or familial sexual violence and experiencing or being exposed to violence in the home increases the risk that children will use or experience violence against partners, peers and family members,” it stated.



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