Saturday, May 27, 2006

Hope and help for the battered woman (2): Essential provisions of RA 9262 "Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004"

Related posts:
Update: Supreme Court upholds Constitutionality of RA 9262 (Garcia vs. Drilon, G.R. No. 179267, June 25, 2013)

R.A. 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws. It is not an “anti-male,” “husband-bashing,” and “hate-men” law.

R.A. 9262 covers lesbian relationships.

The grant of a TPO (Temporary Protection Order) without a hearing does not violate the Constitutional right to due process.

The non-referral of a VAWC (violence against women and children) case to a mediator is justified.

RA 9262 does not unduly delegate judicial power to barangay officials. The BPO (Barangay Protection Order) is purely executive in nature in keeping with the barangay captain’s duty under the Local Government Code to “enforce all laws and ordinances,” and to “maintain public order in the barangay.”

Enumerated below in question and answer format are some of the salient provisions of Republic Act 9262 and pertinent information regarding domestic violence.

What is the legal definition of “violence against women and their children?”

“Violence against women and their children”
is any act or series of acts committed by any person against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, 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.

Can RA 9262 apply even to those who are not married?


Yes, RA 9262 applies also to those persons involved in a “dating relationship.” The term refers to “a situation where 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.

What does RA 9262 mean by “sexual relations?”

The term refers to “a single sexual act which may or may not result in the bearing of a common child.” Persons involved in such are covered by the provisions of RA 9262.

What do the terms “battery” and “Battered Woman Syndrome” mean?


“Battery” refers to an act of inflicting physical harm upon the woman or her child resulting to physical and psychological or emotional distress.

“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.

What is stalking?


The term 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.

What kinds of violence are prohibited by RA 9262?


RA 9262 prohibits physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and economic abuse.

What is sexual violence?


It refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her child. It includes but is not limited to:

  1. 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 him/her to watch obscene publications and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or to 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;
  2. acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of force, physical or other harm or coercion;
  3. prostituting the woman or child.
What is psychological violence?

“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:

  1. intimidation
  2. harassment
  3. stalking
  4. damage to property
  5. public ridicule or humiliation
  6. repeated verbal abuse
  7. marital infidelity
  8. causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of a family to which the victim belongs
  9. causing victim to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive injury to pets
  10. unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children.
Why does RA 9262 seem to overemphasize psychological violence? What are the effects of psychological or emotional abuse?

Neil Jacobson and John Gottman in their study “When Men Batter Women” relate the insidious effects of psychological or emotional abuse as follows:
  • Emotional abuse is harder to live with than being beaten and it means something different to women when it occurs with physical abuse.
  • Despite the pain and bruises inflicted by punching, kicking and worse mayhem, it is the scarring left by an emotionally abusive husband that is more likely to trigger a battered wife’s decision to leave her spouse.
  • Emotional abuse is more oppressive, particularly when it is frequent. It can be present every day, every waking hour, 24 hours a day. What men are doing with emotional abuse is almost like mind control.
What is economic abuse?

“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.
What are the specific acts of violence punishable under RA 9262?

Section 5 of RA 9262 enumerates the specific acts of violence against women and their children. These are the following:

[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 her child.

[f] Inflicting or threatening to inflict physical harm on one’s self 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.

[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 or access to the woman’s child/children.
What prohibited acts are included under paragraph [e] above?

Paragraph [e] of Section 5 states: “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 her child.”

This includes 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, 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 money or properties, or solely controlling the conjugal or common money or properties.
What prohibited acts are included under paragraph [h] of Section 5?


Paragraph [h] of Section 5 states: “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 includes the following acts:
  1. Stalking or following the woman or her child in public or private places;
  2. Peering in the widow 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 of inflicting harm to animals or pets of the woman or her child; and
  5. Engaging in any form of harassment or violence.
What are the penalties for acts of violence against women?


Section 6 of RA 9262 provides for penalties for various prohibited acts of violence against women and their children. These are the following:
[1] 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.
[2] 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 prision mayor; those constituting less serious physical injuries shall be punished by prision correccional; and those constituting slight physical injuries shall be punished arresto mayor.
[3] 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.
[4] Acts falling under Section 5(c) and 5(d) shall be punished by arresto mayor;
[5] Acts falling under Section 5(e) shall be punished by prision correccional;
[6] Acts falling under Section 5(f) shall be punishable by arresto mayor;
[7] Acts falling under Section 5(g) shall be punished by prision mayor;
[8] 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 this section. 

What do the terms “prision mayor,” “arresto mayor,” etc. mean?

Prision mayor –
Penalty of imprisonment is from 6 years and 1 day to 12 years; minimum - from 6 years and 1 day to 8 years; maximum - from 10 years and 1 day to 12 years.

Prision correctional - Penalty of imprisonment is from 6 months and 1 day to 6 years ; minimum - from 6 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4 months; maximum - from 4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 6 years

Arresto mayor - Penalty of imprisonment is from 1 month and 1 day to 6 months; minimum - from 1 to 2 months; maximum - from 4 months and 1 day to 6 months.

Beside imprisonment, are there any other penalties provided by RA 9262?


Yes, in addition to imprisonment, the perpetrator must:
  1. pay a fine in the amount of not less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos but not more than Three Hundred Thousand Pesos;
  2. undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment and must report compliance to the court.
What court has jurisdiction over RA 9262 cases?

The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their children.


In the absence of such court in the place where the offense was committed, the case must be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was committed at the option of the complainant.

Is it only the woman-victim of abuse who can report the offense to the police authorities?

Under Section 25 of RA 9262, violence against women and their children are considered as a public crime. This means that the case may be prosecuted upon the filing of a complaint by any citizen having personal knowledge of the circumstances involving the commission of the crime.


If a person witnesses abuse being committed against a woman or her child and intervenes, does that person have any liability?


Section 34 of RA 9262 provides: "In every case of violence against women and their children, 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."


What are the rights of victims under RA 9262?


Section 35 of RA 9262 that in addition to their rights under existing laws, victims of violence against women and their children have the following rights:

[a] to be treated with respect and dignity;

[b] to avail of legal assistance from the PAO of the Department of Justice (DOJ) or any public legal assistance office;

[c] to be entitled to support services from the DSWD and LGUs;

[d] to be entitled to all legal remedies and support 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 also provides that any victim of violence under this Act are entitled to actual, compensatory, moral and exemplary damages.

Section 40 obligates the DSWD and local government units to provide mandatory programs and service for victims such as temporary shelters, provide counseling, psycho-social services or recovery, rehabilitation programs and livelihood assistance. The DOH must provide medical assistance to victims.

A woman-victim might be prejudiced in her employment if she takes time off to get medical treatment or to seek police and legal assistance in filing her case. What provision if any does RA 9262 have in this situation?


Section 43 of RA 9262 provides that victims are entitled to take a paid leave of absence up to ten 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 prejudices the right of the person under this section must be penalized according to the provisions of the Labor Code and Civil Service Rules and regulations.

Likewise, an employer who prejudices any person for assisting a co-employee who is a victim under this Act must be held liable for discrimination.

What if the perpetrator of abuse against a woman or her child tries to evade prosecution by leaving the country?

Section 37 of RA 9262 states: "The court shall expedite the process of issuance of a hold departure order in cases prosecuted under this Act."

What are the responsibilities of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers under RA 9262?



Section 31 of RA 9262 provides, among other things, that healthcare providers should:
[a] automatically provide the victim free of charge a medical certificate concerning the examination or visit;

[b] safeguard the records and make them available to the victim upon request at actual cost; and

[c] provide the victim immediate and adequate notice of rights and remedies under RA 9262, and the services available to them.
Why is there a need for information and training of healthcare providers? By the nature of their work, aren’t they already familiar with domestic violence, their causes and manifestations?

A study by Evan Stark and Ann Flitcraft (“Medical Therapy as Repression: The Case of the Battered Woman,” Health and Medicine, 1982) discovered that out of one million women who sought medical treatment for injuries inflicted by their husbands or boyfriends, doctors correctly identified the injuries as a result of battering only four percent of the time.

What prevents a woman or her children or both from filing a case is the possible shame and embarrassment in their community. What are the provisions of RA 9262 to ensure the confidentiality of the victims and the case?


Section 44 provides the following safeguards and penalties so as to ensure confidentiality:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Any person who violates this provision shall suffer the penalty of one year imprisonment and a fine of not more than Five Hundred Thousand Pesos.
What can be done for the offenders?

Section 41 provides that the DSWD must provide rehabilitative counseling and treatment to perpetrators towards learning constructive ways of coping with anger and emotional outburst and reforming their ways. When necessary, the offender must be ordered by the Court to submit to psychiatric treatment or confinement.

Next time around we will discuss the provisions of RA 9262 on protection orders – BPO (Barangay Protection Order), and the TPO (Temporary protection Order) and PPO (Permanent Protection Order) issued by the court.