For CLAW-rity’s Sake! – VAWC

Family Law, Legal FAQs

Walang Tatahan Sa Tahanan

To Maintaining the Home as a Safe Space through

Republic Act No. 9262

Atty. Katrin Jessica I. Distor-Guinigundo
Junior Partner, Calleja Law

Home is where you feel at home and are treated well.”

– Dalai Lama
For most Filipinos who tend to be family-oriented, the home is usually seen as a safe space. A refuge and hiding place where one can be vulnerable and at the same time, feel loved; a place where flaws are accepted and shortcomings understood; a place likened to a springboard of sorts, where we can be empowered. Woefully, not every person sees the home in this manner—for some, it is the most dangerous place to be. Such is the case for some women and children, who find themselves abused and tormented by the very loved ones who vowed to protect them at all costs—their partners.
Recent worldwide statistics are a cause for concern and action. According to UN Women, there are 736 million women are subjected to violence, 640 million of which are subjected to intimate partner violence, while approximately 47,000 (out of the remaining 81,000) women died at the hands of an intimate partner or a family member. The Philippine statistics fare no better: in 2019, there have been 19,743 recorded combined cases of violence against women and gender-based violence, per the Philippine National Police records.
Gender-based violence and domestic abuse has been recognized as a global human rights issue that is abhorred in all jurisdictions. In 1993, it passed Resolution 48/104, stating that “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordinate positions, compared with men.”
Not one to shirk from its responsibility to protect its citizens and to recognize the pernicious effect of domestic abuse on women and their children, the Philippine legislature, on March 8, 2004,  enacted Republic Act No. 9262 (RA 9262), also known as the Violence against Women and their Children Act of 2004, primarily to protect women and their children from physical, psychological, and economic violence, as well as threats to their personal safety and security, committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate [Sec.3a, IRR].
Given this widespread phenomenon, everyone must answer the clarion call to be advocates in curbing such violence. One step towards this goal is to become fully informed of the rights and remedies afforded to those suffering from such abuses. Here are some salient portions of RA 9262 that all of us must be aware of:


What are the types of abuses punishable by RA 9262 [Sec. 3, IRR]?

  1. Physical – any act that includes bodily or physical harm
  2. Sexual – an act that is sexual in nature, such as but not limited to: (a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object, making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the sexual parts of the victim’s body, forcing her/him to watch obscene publications and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser; (b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion; and (c) Prostituting the woman or child.
  1. Psychological – acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental and emotional suffering of the offended party, such as but not limited to: (a) intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and mental infidelity; (b) causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, to witness pornography in any form, or to witness abusive injury to pets; or (c) to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children.
  2. Economic – any act that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent, such as but not limited to: (a) withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in Article 73 of the Family Code; (b) deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common; (c) destroying household property; and (d) controlling the victims’ own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or properties.
Who are the persons who may be held liable?
  1. Husband (former or present) [Sec. 3, IRR];
  2. Any person with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship [Sec. 3, IRR];
  3. Any person with whom the woman has a common child (whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode) [Sec. 3, IRR];
  4. Any person in conspiracy with the person committing violence against the woman and/or her child [Go Tan v. Sps. Tan, G. R. No. 168852, September 30, 2008]; and
  5. Mothers who abuse their children [Knutson v. Hon. Sarmiento-Flores, G.R. No. 239215. July 12, 2022].
What reliefs are available under the law?
Victims of abuse may avail of protection order/s and/or file a verified complaint for violation of RA 9262.
  1. Protection orders:
    • Barangay Protection Order (BPO) – issued by the punong barangay, which shall be effective for fifteen (15) days [Sec. 14, IRR];
    • Temporary Protection Order (TPO) – issued by the court, which shall be effective for a renewable period of thirty (30) days [Sec. 15, IRR];
    • Permanent Protection Order (TPO) – issued by the court, which shall be effective until revoked [Sec. 16, IRR].
The following persons may file the petition for the issuance of a protection order:
  1. the offended party;
  2. parents or guardians of the offended party;
  3. ascendants, descendants or collateral relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity;
  4. officers or social workers of the DSWD or social workers of local government units (LGUs);
  5. police officers, preferably those in charge of women and children’s desks;
  6. Punong Barangayor Barangay Kagawad;
  7. lawyer, counselor, therapist or healthcare provider of the petitioner;
  8. At least two (2) concerned responsible citizens of the city or municipality where the violence against women and their children occurred and who has personal knowledge of the offense committed [Sec. 9, IRR].
  1. Verified complaint for violation of RA 9262 – filed before the Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) where the any of the elements of the crime is committed.
Since its enactment, the law has been helpful in purging Filipino households from domestic violence. While questions have been raised assailing its constitutionality, the Supreme Court, in the landmark case of Garcia v. Drilon, G.R. No. 179267, June 25, 2013, put to rest such questions. In declaring the law valid and constitutional, the Court recognized that women are the “usual and most likely victims of violence” and are subject to special protections under the law. While legal measures are clearly in place, the battle must still be waged with regard to implementation. Funding, awareness, and public participation is still a major factor to mitigate domestic violence. With a long way to go, every person must continue to be at the forefront of this war to ensure that no one will ever feel unsafe in the home.


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Post Tags: RA 9262, VAWC, violence, violence against women, violence against women and their children, women abuse

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