July 19, 2024

The government is eyeing to implement a one-stop-shop system to strengthen its aftercare services for child victims of online sexual abuse or exploitation, the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) said.

CWC Executive Director Angelo Tapales said the aftercare services would provide the necessary interventions and support to ensure the sustained recovery and effective reintegration of child victims.

He said the one-stop-shop would include services such as emergency shelter or appropriate housing, counseling, free legal services, medical and psychosocial services, livelihood skills training, and educational assistance to aftercare participants.

“We are currently formulating and finalizing a plan to have a one-stop-shop system in which victims may be brought to one place, and all experts and necessary relief and intervention will be provided there,” he said.

We are ironing out the issues so that if there are victims (of child sexual abuse and exploitation], they would receive) appropriate relief and intervention at the soonest possible time,” he added.

Tapales said online sexual abuse or exploitation of children (OSAEC) is still a “serious concern” in the country with 41 percent of the facilitators being their parents, and 42 percent being their other relatives.

“The children are not really aware that they are being violated so we could say there is underreporting,” he said.

Tapales stressed the need to strengthen the awareness program especially at the grassroots level, as well as a centralized reporting system for OSAEC cases.

He said the CWC has submitted to the Office of the Executive Secretary a draft executive order on the institutionalization of the Makabata Help Line 1383 as the focal helpline for all children in need of special protection, including OSAEC victims.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has called for the implementation of a comprehensive and holistic strategy aimed at preventing and combating OSAEC and child sexual abuse or exploitation materials (CSAEM) in the Philippines.

The National Coordination Center Against OSAEC and CSAEM (NCC-OSAEC-CSAEM) has presented to the President the action plan covering six key pillars in the fight against online child sexual abuse.

This includes improving the referral pathways and mechanisms; capacity building; communications; aftercare services; private sector engagement; and data harmonization. – PNA