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Women Crisis Center in Cotabato City

IMG_0176In celebration of the International Women’s Day today, the city government of Cotabato inaugurates its Women Crisis Center at the Social Development Center Compound, this city.

The establishment of this facility was first realized when Republic Act 8505 or the Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act of 1998 was passed. During this time, it was called a Rape Crisis Center. But over the years, when Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act was passed, it was renamed as Women Crisis Center.

Its concept was inspired by the successes of cities with the highest rate of recovery of women who survived crisis or difficult circumstances in the hands of their partners or husbands, through the assistance of a women’s crisis center.

In Cotabato City, the project is one of the flagship projects of the late city mayor Japal J. Guiani, Jr. which was later continued by city mayor Atty. Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi. The women crisis center was constructed by phase and in 2016, it was already completed. With an overall budget of about 5 million pesos, the women crisis center will be able to house at least 24 clients at one time. It has 3 bedrooms that can each accommodate 8 people, a kitchen and dining area, a receiving office, a training room, and comfort rooms.

City Social Welfare Officer Cheribin Mena K. Viloria said the crisis center is provided with a training room as the city government plans to equip the women admitted to the center with skills development trainings (i.e sewing) to help them develop themselves, become more productive, and most importantly, help them move on from the trauma that they have experienced because of the abuse that they have gone through.

“The first intervention that we will make is the psycho social intervention, legal and medical assistance for women survivors that include counselling services. The second objective is to empower the abused women and children through educational skills and life skills and to facilitate the other services and resources in other offices”, Viloria said.

Viloria also revealed that Cotabato City has recorded a high number of violence against women and children (VAWC) victims in 2016. However, she refused to give exact details on the cases for confidentiality and safety of the victims.

In her speech delivered by Jarissa Guiani, the mayor’s executive assistant, City Mayor Atty. Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said that despite of massive information campaign and increase in penalty on crimes of abuse against women, the problem still exists in the city. This is the reason why the establishment of the WCC is imperative.

“With the opening of WCC, we envision to provide immediate access and effective crisis intervention, support and attention to the victims and women survivors. We also empower the victims of rape, sexual abused and domestically abused to gain self esteem and self sufficiency and to move beyond being a victim to become a strong survivor, the mayor said.

The crisis center will be manned by social welfare officers and workers from the city government. It will have four house parents who will work on shifts to look after their clients. The center will also be open 24/7 to admit victims anytime and provide them with shelter and proper care.

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