AN ACT DEFINING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN, PROVIDING FOR PROTECTIVE MEASURES FOR VICTIMS, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES THEREFORE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
SECTION 1. Short Title.- This Act shall be known as the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004”.
SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy.- It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of women and children and guarantees full respect for human rights. The State also recognizes the need to protect the family and its members particularly women and children, from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.
Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence committed against women and children in keeping with the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the Provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination Against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights instruments of which the Philippines is a party.
SECTION 3. Definition of Terms.- As used in this Act,
(a) “Violence against women and their children” refers to any act or a series of acts 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, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
A. “Physical Violence” refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;
B. “Sexual violence” refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her child. It includes, but is 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;
c) Prostituting the woman or child.
C. “Psychological violence” refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and mental infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children.
D. “Economic abuse” refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent which includes, but is not limited to the following:
1. 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;
2. 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;
3. destroying household property;
4. controlling the victims’ own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or properties.
(b) “Battery” refers to an act of inflicting physical harm upon the woman or her child resulting to the physical and psychological or emotional distress.
(c) “Battered Woman Syndrome” refers to a scientifically defined pattern of psychological and behavioral symptoms found in women living in battering relationships as a result of cumulative abuse.
(d) “Stalking” refers to an intentional act committed by a person who, knowingly and without lawful justification follows the woman or her child or places the woman or her child under surveillance directly or indirectly or a combination thereof.
(e) “Dating relationship” refers to a situation wherein the parties live as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or are romantically involved over time and on a continuing basis during the course of the relationship. A casual acquaintance or ordinary socialization between two individuals in a business or social context is not a dating relationship.
(f) “Sexual relations” refers to a single sexual act which may or may not result in the bearing of a common child.
(g) “Safe place or shelter” refers to any home or institution maintained or managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or by any other agency or voluntary organization accredited by the DSWD for the purposes of this Act or any other suitable place the resident of which is willing temporarily to receive the victim.
(h) “Children” refers to those below eighteen (18) years of age or older but are incapable of taking care of themselves as defined under Republic Act No. 7610. As used in this Act, it includes the biological children of the victim and other children under her care.
SECTION 4. Construction.- This Act shall be liberally construed to promote the protection and safety of victims of violence against women and their children.
SECTION 5. Acts of Violence Against Women and Their Children.- The crime of violence against women and their children is committed through any of the following acts:
(a) Causing physical harm to the woman or her child;
(b) Threatening to cause the woman or her child physical harm;
(c) Attempting to cause the woman or her child physical harm;
(d) Placing the woman or her child in fear of imminent physical harm;
(e) Attempting to compel or compelling the woman or her child to engage in conduct which the woman or her child has the right to desist from or desist from conduct which the woman or her child has the right to engage in, or attempting to restrict or restricting the woman’s or her child’s freedom of movement or conduct by force or threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm, or intimidation directed against the woman or child. This shall include, but not limited to, the following acts committed with the purpose or effect of controlling or restricting the woman’s or her child’s movement or conduct:
(1) Threatening to deprive or actually depriving the woman or her child of custody to her/his family;
(2) Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her children of financial support legally due her or her family, or deliberately providing the woman’s children insufficient financial support;
(3) Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right;
(4) Preventing the woman in engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity or controlling the victim’s own mon4ey or properties, or solely controlling the conjugal or common money, or properties;
(f) Inflicting or threatening to inflict physical harm on oneself for the purpose of controlling her actions or decisions;
(g) Causing or attempting to cause the woman or her child to engage in any sexual activity which does not constitute rape, by force or threat of force, physical harm, or through intimidation directed against the woman or her child or her/his immediate family;
(h) Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless conduct, personally or through another, that alarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman or her child. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts:
(1) Stalking or following the woman or her child in public or private places;
(2) Peering in the window or lingering outside the residence of the woman or her child;
(3) Entering or remaining in the dwelling or on the property of the woman or her child against her/his will;
(4) Destroying the property and personal belongings or inflicting harm to animals or pets of the woman or her child; and
(5) Engaging in any form of harassment or violence;
(i) Causing mental or emotional anguish, public ridicule or humiliation to the woman or her child, including, but not limited to, repeated verbal and emotional abuse, and denial of financial support or custody of minor children of access to the woman’s child/children.
SECTION 6. Penalties.- The crime of violence against women and their children, under Section 5 hereof shall be punished according to the following rules:
(a) Acts falling under Section 5(a) constituting attempted, frustrated or consummated parricide or murder or homicide shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Penal Code.
If these acts resulted in mutilation, it shall be punishable in accordance with the Revised Penal Code; those constituting serious physical injuries shall have the penalty of prison mayor; those constituting less serious physical injuries shall be punished by prision correccional; and those constituting slight physical injuries shall be punished by arresto mayor.
Acts falling under Section 5(b) shall be punished by imprisonment of two degrees lower than the prescribed penalty for the consummated crime as specified in the preceding paragraph but shall in no case be lower than arresto mayor.
(b) Acts falling under Section 5(c) and 5(d) shall be punished by arresto mayor;
(c) Acts falling under Section 5(e) shall be punished by prision correccional;
(d) Acts falling under Section 5(f) shall be punished by arresto mayor;
(e) Acts falling under Section 5(g) shall be punished by prision mayor;
(f) Acts falling under Section 5(h) and Section 5(i) shall be punished by prision mayor.
If the acts are committed while the woman or child is pregnant or committed in the presence of her child, the penalty to be applied shall be the maximum period of penalty prescribed in the section.
In addition to imprisonment, the perpetrator shall (a) pay a fine in the amount of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) but not more than three hundred thousand pesos (300,000.00); (b) undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment and shall report compliance to the court.
SECTION 7. Venue.- The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their children under this law. In the absence of such court in the place where the offense was committed, the case shall be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was committed at the option of the compliant.
SECTION 8. Protection Orders.- A protection order is an order issued under this act for the purpose of preventing further acts of violence against a woman or her child specified in Section 5 of this Act and granting other necessary relief. The relief granted under a protection order serve the purpose of safeguarding the victim from further harm, minimizing any disruption in the victim’s daily life, and facilitating the opportunity and ability of the victim to independently regain control over her life. The provisions of the protection order shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies. The protection orders that may be issued under this Act are the barangay protection order (BPO), temporary protection order (TPO) and permanent protection order (PPO). The protection orders that may be issued under this Act shall include any, some or all of the following reliefs:
(a) Prohibition of the respondent from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through another, any of the acts mentioned in Section 5 of this Act;
(b) Prohibition of the respondent from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the petitioner, directly or indirectly;
(c) Removal and exclusion of the respondent from the residence of the petitioner, regardless of ownership of the residence, either temporarily for the purpose of protecting the petitioner, or permanently where no property rights are violated, and if respondent must remove personal effects from the residence, the court shall direct a law enforcement agent to accompany the respondent has gathered his things and escort respondent from the residence;
(d) Directing the respondent to stay away from petitioner and designated family or household member at a distance specified by the court, and to stay away from the residence, school, place of employment, or any specified place frequented by the petitioner and any designated family or household member;
(e) Directing lawful possession and use by petitioner of an automobile and other essential personal effects, regardless of ownership, and directing the appropriate law enforcement officer to accompany the petitioner to the residence of the parties to ensure that the petitioner is safely restored to the possession of the automobile and other essential personal effects, or to supervise the petitioner’s or respondent’s removal of personal belongings;
(f) Granting a temporary or permanent custody of a child/children to the petitioner;
(g) Directing the respondent to provide support to the woman and/or her child if entitled to legal support. Notwithstanding other laws to the contrary, the court shall order an appropriate percentage of the income or salary of the respondent to be withheld regularly by the respondent’s employer for the same to be automatically remitted directly to the woman. Failure to remit and/or withhold or any delay in the remittance of support to the woman and/or her child without justifiable cause shall render the respondent or his employer liable for indirect contempt of court;
(h) Prohibition of the respondent from any use or possession of any firearm or deadly weapon and order him to surrender the same to the court for appropriate disposition by the court, including revocation of license and disqualification to apply for any license to use or possess a firearm. If the offender is a law enforcement agent, the court shall order the offender to surrender his firearm and shall direct the appropriate authority to investigate on the offender and take appropriate action on matter;
(i) Restitution for actual damages caused by the violence inflicted, including, but not limited to, property damage, medical expenses, childcare expenses and loss of income;
(j) Directing the DSWD or any appropriate agency to provide petitioner may need; and
(k) Provision of such other forms of relief as the court deems necessary to protect and provide for the safety of the petitioner and any designated family or household member, provided petitioner and any designated family or household member consents to such relief.
Any of the reliefs provided under this section shall be granted even in the absence of a decree of legal separation or annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage.
The issuance of a BPO or the pendency of an application for BPO shall not preclude a petitioner from applying for, or the court from granting a TPO or PPO.
SECTION 9. Who may file Petition for Protection Orders. – A petition for protection order may be filed by any of the following:
(a) the offended party;
(b) parents or guardians of the offended party;
(c) ascendants, descendants or collateral relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity;
(d) officers or social workers of the DSWD or social workers of local government units (LGUs);
(e) police officers, preferably those in charge of women and children’s desks;
(f) Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad;
(g) lawyer, counselor, therapist or healthcare provider of the petitioner;
(h) 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.
SECTION 10. Where to Apply for a Protection Order. – Applications for BPOs shall follow the rules on venue under Section 409 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and its implementing rules and regulations. An application for a TPO or PPO may be filed in the regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, municipal circuit trial court with territorial jurisdiction over the place of residence of the petitioner: Provided, however, That if a family court exists in the place of residence of the petitioner, the application shall be filed with that court.
SECTION 11. How to Apply for a Protection Order. – The application for a protection order must be in writing, signed and verified under oath by the applicant. It may be filed as an independent action or as incidental relief in any civil or criminal case the subject matter or issues thereof partakes of a violence as described in this Act. A standard protection order application form, written in English with translation to the major local languages, shall be made available to facilitate applications for protections order, and shall contain, among other, the following information:
(a) names and addresses of petitioner and respondent;
(b) description of relationships between petitioner and respondent;
(c) a statement of the circumstances of the abuse;
(d) description of the reliefs requested by petitioner as specified in Section 8 herein;
(e) request for counsel and reasons for such;
(f) request for waiver of application fees until hearing; and
(g) an attestation that there is no pending application for a protection order in another court.
If the applicants is not the victim, the application must be accompanied by an affidavit of the applicant attesting to (a) the circumstances of the abuse suffered by the victim and (b) the circumstances of consent given by the victim for the filling of the application. When disclosure of the address of the victim will pose danger to her life, it shall be so stated in the application. In such a case, the applicant shall attest that the victim is residing in the municipality or city over which court has territorial jurisdiction, and shall provide a mailing address for purpose of service processing.
An application for protection order filed with a court shall be considered an application for both a TPO and PPO.
Barangay officials and court personnel shall assist applicants in the preparation of the application. Law enforcement agents shall also extend assistance in the application for protection orders in cases brought to their attention.
SECTION 12. Enforceability of Protection Orders. – All TPOs and PPOs issued under this Act shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines and a violation thereof shall be punishable with a fine ranging from Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) and/or imprisonment of six (6) months.
SECTION 13. Legal Representation of Petitioners for Protection Order. – If the woman or her child requests in the applications for a protection order for the appointment of counsel because of lack of economic means to hire a counsel de parte, the court shall immediately direct the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to represent the petitioner in the hearing on the application. If the PAO determines that the applicant can afford to hire the services of a counsel de parte, it shall facilitate the legal representation of the petitioner by a counsel de parte. The lack of access to family or conjugal resources by the applicant, such as when the same are controlled by the perpetrator, shall qualify the petitioner to legal representation by the PAO.
However, a private counsel offering free legal service is not barred from representing the petitioner.
SECTION 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. – Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs) refer to the protection order issued by the Punong Barangay ordering the perpetrator to desist from committing acts under Section 5 (a) and (b) of this Act. A Punong Barangay who receives applications for a BPO shall issue the protection order to the applicant on the date of filing after ex parte determination of the basis of the application. If the Punong Barangay is unavailable to act on the application for a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any available Barangay Kagawad. If the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad the order must be accompanied by an attestation by the Barangay Kagawad that the Punong Barangay was unavailable at the time for the issuance of the BPO. BPOs shall be effective for fifteen (15) days. Immediately after the issuance of an ex parte BPO, the Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad shall personally serve a copy of the same on the respondent, or direct any barangay official to effect is personal service.
The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any proceeding before the Punong Barangay.
SECTION 15. Temporary Protection Orders. – Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) refers to the protection order issued by the court on the date of filing of the application after ex parte determination that such order should be issued. A court may grant in a TPO any, some or all of the reliefs mentioned in this Act and shall be effective for thirty (30) days. The court shall schedule a hearing on the issuance of a PPO prior to or on the date of the expiration of the TPO. The court shall order the immediate personal service of the TPO on the respondent by the court sheriff who may obtain the assistance of law enforcement agents for the service. The TPO shall include notice of the date of the hearing on the merits of the issuance of a PPO.
SECTION 16. Permanent Protection Orders. – Permanent Protection Order (PPO) refers to protection order issued by the court after notice and hearing.
Respondents non-appearance despite proper notice, or his lack of a lawyer, or the non-availability of his lawyer shall not be a ground for rescheduling or postponing the hearing on the merits of the issuance of a PPO. If the respondents appears without counsel on the date of the hearing on the PPO, the court shall appoint a lawyer for the respondent and immediately proceed with the hearing. In case the respondent fails to appear despite proper notice, the court shall allow ex parte presentation of the evidence by the applicant and render judgment on the basis of the evidence presented. The court shall allow the introduction of any history of abusive conduct of a respondent even if the same was not directed against the applicant or the person for whom the applicant is made.
The court shall, to the extent possible, conduct the hearing on the merits of the issuance of a PPO in one (1) day. Where the court is unable to conduct the hearing within one (1) day and the TPO issued is due to expire, the court shall continuously extend or renew the TPO for a period of thirty (30) days at each particular time until final judgment is issued. The extended or renewed TPO may be modified by the court as may be necessary or applicable to address the needs of the applicant.
The court may grant any, some or all of the reliefs specified in Section 8 hereof in a PPO. A PPO shall be effective until revoked by a court upon application of the person in whose favor the order was issued. The court shall ensure immediate personal service of the PPO on respondent.
The court shall not deny the issuance of protection order on the basis of the lapse of time between the act of violence and the filing of the application.
Regardless of the conviction or acquittal of the respondent, the Court must determine whether or not the PPO shall become final. Even in a dismissal, a PPO shall be granted as long as there is no clear showing that the act from which the order might arise did not exist.
SECTION 17. Notice of Sanction in Protection Orders. – The following statement must be printed in bold-faced type or in capital letters on the protection order issued by the Punong Barangay or court:
“VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW.”
SECTION 18. Mandatory Period For Acting on Applications For Protection Orders – Failure to act on an application for a protection order within the reglementary period specified in the previous section without justifiable cause shall render the official or judge administratively liable.
SECTION 19. Legal Separation Cases. – In cases of legal separation, where violence as specified in this Act is alleged, Article 58 of the Family Code shall not apply. The court shall proceed on the main case and other incidents of the case as soon as possible. The hearing on any application for a protection order filed by the petitioner must be conducted within the mandatory period specified in this Act.
SECTION 20. Priority of Application for a Protection Order. – Ex parte and adversarial hearings to determine the basis of applications for a protection order under this Act shall have priority over all other proceedings. Barangay officials and the courts shall schedule and conduct hearings on applications for a protection order under this Act above all other business and, if necessary, suspend other proceedings in order to hear applications for a protection order.
SECTION 21. Violation of Protection Orders. – A complaint for a violation of a BPO issued under this Act must be filed directly with any municipal trial court, metropolitan trial court, or municipal circuit trial court that has territorial jurisdiction over the barangay that issued the BPO. Violation of a BPO shall be punishable by imprisonment of thirty (30) days without prejudice to any other criminal or civil action that the offended party may file for any of the acts committed.
A judgement of violation of a BPO ma be appealed according to the Rules of Court. During trial and upon judgment, the trial court may motu proprio issue a protection order as it deems necessary without need of an application.
Violation of any provision of a TPO or PPO issued under this Act shall constitute contempt of court punishable under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, without prejudice to any other criminal or civil action that the offended party may file for any of the acts committed.
SECTION 22. Applicability of Protection Orders to Criminal Cases. – The foregoing provisions on protection orders shall be applicable in impliedly instituted with the criminal actions involving violence against women and their children.
SECTION 23. Bond to Keep the Peace. – The Court may order any person against whom a protection order is issued to give a bond to keep the peace, to present two sufficient sureties who shall undertake that such person will not commit the violence sought to be prevented.
Should the respondent fail to give the bond as required, he shall be detained for a period which shall in no case exceed six (6) months, if he shall have been prosecuted for acts punishable under Section 5(a) to 5(f) and not exceeding thirty (30) days, if for acts punishable under Section 5(g) to 5(I).
The protection orders referred to in this section are the TPOs and the PPOs issued only by the courts.
SECTION 24. Prescriptive Period. – Acts falling under Sections 5(a) to 5(f) shall prescribe in twenty (20) years. Acts falling under Sections 5(g) to 5(I) shall prescribe in ten (10) years.
SECTION 25. Public Crime. – Violence against women and their children shall be considered a public offense which may be prosecuted upon the filing of a complaint by any citizen having personal knowledge of the circumstances involving the commission of the crime.
SECTION 26. Battered Woman Syndrome as a Defense. – Victim-survivors who are found by the courts to be suffering from battered woman syndrome do not incur any criminal and civil liability notwithstanding the absence of any of the elements for justifying circumstances of self-defense under the Revised Penal Code.
In the determination of the state of mind of the woman who was suffering from battered woman syndrome at the time of the commission of the crime, the courts shall be assisted by expert psychiatrists/ psychologists.
SECTION 27. Prohibited Defense. – Being under the influence of alcohol, any illicit drug, or any other mind-altering substance shall not be a defense under this Act.
SECTION 28. Custody of children. – The woman victim of violence shall be entitled to the custody and support of her child/children. Children below seven (7) years old older but with mental or physical disabilities shall automatically be given to the mother, with right to support, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise.
A victim who is suffering from battered woman syndrome shall not be disqualified from having custody of her children. In no case shall custody of minor children be given to the perpetrator of a woman who is suffering from Battered woman syndrome.
SECTION 29. Duties of Prosecutors/Court Personnel. – Prosecutors and court personnel should observe the following duties when dealing with victims under this Act:
a) communicate with the victim in a language understood by the woman or her child; and
b) inform the victim of her/his rights including legal remedies available and procedure, and privileges for indigent litigants.
SECTION 30. Duties of Barangay Officials and Law Enforcers. – Barangay officials and law enforcers shall have the following duties:
(a) respond immediately to a call for help or request for assistance or protection of the victim by entering the necessary whether or not a protection order has been issued and ensure the safety of the victim/s;
(b) confiscate any deadly weapon in the possession of the perpetrator or within plain view;
(c) transport or escort the victim/s to a safe place of their choice or to a clinic or hospital;
(d) assist the victim in removing personal belongs from the house;
(e) assist the barangay officials and other government officers and employees who respond to a call for help;
(f) ensure the enforcement of the Protection Orders issued by the Punong Barangy or the courts;
(g) arrest the suspected perpetrator wiithout a warrant when any of the acts of violence defined by this Act is occurring, or when he/she has personal knowledge that any act of abuse has just been committed, and there is imminent danger to the life or limb of the victim as defined in this Act; and
(h) immediately report the call for assessment or assistance of the DSWD, social Welfare Department of LGUs or accredited non-government organizations (NGOs).
Any barangay official or law enforcer who fails to report the incident shall be liable for a fine not exceeding Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) or whenever applicable criminal, civil or administrative liability.
SECTION 31. Healthcare Provider Response to Abuse – Any healthcare provider, including, but not limited to, an attending physician, nurse, clinician, barangay health worker, therapist or counselor who suspects abuse or has been informed by the victim of violence shall:
(a) properly document any of the victim’s physical, emotional or psychological injuries;
(b) properly record any of victim’s suspicions, observations and circumstances of the examination or visit;
(c) automatically provide the victim free of charge a medical certificate concerning the examination or visit;
(d) safeguard the records and make them available to the victim upon request at actual cost; and
(e) provide the victim immediate and adequate notice of rights and remedies provided under this Act, and services available to them.
SECTION 32. Duties of Other Government Agencies and LGUs – Other government agencies and LGUs shall establish programs such as, but not limited to, education and information campaign and seminars or symposia on the nature, causes, incidence and consequences of such violence particularly towards educating the public on its social impacts.
It shall be the duty of the concerned government agencies and LGU’s to ensure the sustained education and training of their officers and personnel on the prevention of violence against women and their children under the Act.
SECTION 33. Prohibited Acts. – A Punong Barangay, Barangay Kagawad or the court hearing an application for a protection order shall not order, direct, force or in any way unduly influence he applicant for a protection order to compromise or abandon any of the reliefs sought in the application for protection under this Act. Section 7 of the Family Courts Act of 1997 and Sections 410, 411, 412 and 413 of the Local Government Code of 1991 shall not apply in proceedings where relief is sought under this Act.
Failure to comply with this Section shall render the official or judge administratively liable.
SECTION 34. Persons Intervening Exempt from Liability. – In every case of violence against women and their children as herein defined, any person, private individual or police authority or barangay official who, acting in accordance with law, responds or intervenes without using violence or restraint greater than necessary to ensure the safety of the victim, shall not be liable for any criminal, civil or administrative liability resulting therefrom.
SECTION 35. Rights of Victims. – In addition to their rights under existing laws, victims of violence against women and their children shall have the following rights:
(a) to be treated with respect and dignity;
(b) to avail of legal assistance form the PAO of the Department of Justice (DOJ) or any public legal assistance office;
(c) To be entitled to support services form the DSWD and LGUs’
(d) To be entitled to all legal remedies and support as provided for under the Family Code; and
(e) To be informed of their rights and the services available to them including their right to apply for a protection order.
SECTION 36. Damages. – Any victim of violence under this Act shall be entitled to actual, compensatory, moral and exemplary damages.
SECTION 37. Hold Departure Order. – The court shall expedite the process of issuance of a hold departure order in cases prosecuted under this Act.
SECTION 38. Exemption from Payment of Docket Fee and Other Expenses. – If the victim is an indigent or there is an immediate necessity due to imminent danger or threat of danger to act on an application for a protection order, the court shall accept the application without payment of the filing fee and other fees and of transcript of stenographic notes.
SECTION 39. Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and Their Children (IAC-VAWC). In pursuance of the abovementioned policy, there is hereby established an Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and their children, hereinafter known as the Council, which shall be composed of the following agencies:
(a) Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD);
(b) National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW);
(c) Civil Service Commission (CSC);
(d) Commission on Human rights (CHR)
(e) Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC);
(f) Department of Justice (DOJ);
(g) Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG);
(h) Philippine National Police (PNP);
(i) Department of Health (DOH);
(j) Department of Education (DepEd);
(k) Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); and
(l) National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
These agencies are tasked to formulate programs and projects to eliminate VAW based on their mandates as well as develop capability programs for their employees to become more sensitive to the needs of their clients. The Council will also serve as the monitoring body as regards to VAW initiatives.
The Council members may designate their duly authorized representative who shall have a rank not lower than an assistant secretary or its equivalent. These representatives shall attend Council meetings in their behalf, and shall receive emoluments as may be determined by the Council in accordance with existing budget and accounting rules and regulations.
SECTION 40. Mandatory Programs and Services for Victims. – The DSWD, and LGU’s shall provide the victims temporary shelters, provide counseling, psycho-social services and /or, recovery, rehabilitation programs and livelihood assistance.
The DOH shall provide medical assistance to victims.
SECTION 41. Counseling and Treatment of Offenders. – The DSWD shall provide rehabilitative counseling and treatment to perpetrators towards learning constructive ways of coping with anger and emotional outbursts and reforming their ways. When necessary, the offender shall be ordered by the Court to submit to psychiatric treatment or confinement.
SECTION 42. Training of Persons Involved in Responding to Violence Against Women and their Children Cases. – All agencies involved in responding to violence against women and their children cases shall be required to undergo education and training to acquaint them with:
a. the nature, extend and causes of violence against women and their children;
b. the legal rights of, and remedies available to, victims of violence against women and their children;
c. the services and facilities available to victims or survivors;
d. the legal duties imposed on police officers to make arrest and to offer protection and assistance; and
e. techniques for handling incidents of violence against women and their children that minimize the likelihood of injury to the officer and promote the safety of the victim or survivor.
The PNP, in coordination with LGU’s shall establish an education and training program for police officers and barangay officials to enable them to properly handle cases of violence against women and their children.
SECTION 43. Entitled to Leave. – Victims under this Act shall be entitled to take a paid leave of absence up to ten (10) days in addition to other paid leaves under the Labor Code and Civil Service Rules and Regulations, extendible when the necessity arises as specified in the protection order.
Any employer who shall prejudice the right of the person under this section shall be penalized in accordance with the provisions of the Labor Code and Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Likewise, an employer who shall prejudice any person for assisting a co-employee who is a victim under this Act shall likewise be liable for discrimination.
SECTION 44. Confidentiality. – All records pertaining to cases of violence against women and their children including those in the barangay shall be confidential and all public officers and employees and public or private clinics to hospitals shall respect the right to privacy of the victim. Whoever publishes or causes to be published, in any format, the name, address, telephone number, school, business address, employer, or other identifying information of a victim or an immediate family member, without the latter’s consent, shall be liable to the contempt power of the court.
Any person who violates this provision shall suffer the penalty of one (1) year imprisonment and a fine of not more than Five Hundred Thousand pesos (P500,000.00).
SECTION 45. Funding – The amount necessary to implement the provisions of this Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The Gender and Development (GAD) Budget of the mandated agencies and LGU’s shall be used to implement services for victim of violence against women and their children.
SECTION 46. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – Within six (6) months from the approval of this Act, the DOJ, the NCRFW, the DSWD, the DILG, the DOH, and the PNP, and three (3) representatives from NGOs to be identified by the NCRFW, shall promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of this Act.
SECTION 47. Suppletory Application – For purposes of this Act, the Revised Penal Code and other applicable laws, shall have suppletory application.
SECTION 48. Separability Clause. – If any section or provision of this Act is held unconstitutional or invalid, the other sections or provisions shall not be affected.
SECTION 49. Repealing Clause – All laws, Presidential decrees, executive orders and rules and regulations, or parts thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
SECTION 50. Effectivity – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days from the date of its complete publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.
Approved: March 08, 2004