DOJ launches protocol on handling child abuse cases

MANILA (PIA) — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a set of standards for the guidance of all concerned government agencies, non-government agencies and other stakeholders to ensure the protection of children’s rights.

In her speech during the launching of the Protocol for Case Management of Child Victims of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima urged people to be aware of child abuse issues and report incidence to concerned authorities but must ensure that the identity of the victim will not be exposed.

“There should be no media interviews allowed for victims of child abuse and neglect, especially if the cases are under investigation. Even video interviews where the image of the child is blurred are discouraged. You may interview the law enforcer, to describe the case, but always observe non-disclosure of the identity of the child,” she said.

The DOJ-Committee for the Special Protection of Children (CSPS) held a series of consultations and workshops with the local government units (LGUs), regional committees, government agencies, non-government organizations and other stakeholders to come up with the Protocol for the proper implementation of the Anti-Child Abuse Law or Republic Act 7610.

Roles and responsibilities of various government agencies and their partners are highlighted in the Protocol commencing from reporting or referral of child abuse cases up to its termination and making sure that child abuse cases are prioritized and are attended to with utmost sensitivity and confidentiality.

The CSPC developed a Flowchart on Management of Child Abuse Cases to illustrate the different stages of a case. Using the algorithm as guide, the Protocol will show how government agencies and their partners can either work independently or in coordination with each other in solving child abuse cases.

De Lima said the new rules would cover case handling in all its aspects—from the time an abuse is reported to the reintegration of the victim into society.

“The continuing abomination and deviance that is child abuse require of us the social imagination, legal innovation and, above all, political will to locally and nationally develop and implement standards, institutional mechanisms, investigative and prosecutorial protocols, and a monitoring system that will be the protective net to rescue children and to send criminals to jail,” De Lima emphasized.#