QC opens shelter for abused women, children and LGBTs

The Quezon City government has opened one of the first local government unit (LGU)-run shelters for abused women, children and LGBTs, serving as the highlight to the city’s commemoration of the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW).

Mayor Joy Belmonte led the opening of Bahay Kanlungan which will serve as a temporary shelter for victim-survivors of gender-based violence and abuse. Those admitted to the shelter shall be processed at the hospital-based QC Protection Center in Barangay Bahay Toro, and if needed, referred to the shelter for up to 12 weeks.

“Nagbibigay ang ating protection center ng iba’t ibang tulong para sa kanila, tulad ng medical assistance, legal assistance, at counseling. Ngunit saan natin sila dadalhin kung nararamdaman nilang hindi sila ligtas sa kanilang mga tahanan? Iyan ang pinakalayunin ng Bahay Kanlungan,” Belmonte stressed.

The shelter has 60 beds dedicated for women, children and LGBTs. There is an activity area, reading hub, and playing room for kids. The center will also have wifi and a learning area for children who need to attend online classes, and a livelihood training center for women and LGBTs.

“Mahalaga ang papel na gagampanan ng ganitong klaseng shelter lalo ngayong may pandemya. Batay sa datos, 25 hanggang 35 porsiyento ang itinaas ng domestic violence sa panahon ng pandemya dahil nasa iisang bahay lang ang biktima at mga gumagawa ng karahasan, na kadalasan ay partner o di kaya’y asawa o kapamilya,” Belmonte explained.

Aside from the physical abuse, Belmonte said victims also experience emotional, economic and financial abuse from their perpetrators.

Belmonte said abused women and children usually have no choice but to endure pain and suffering since they are economically dependent on the perpetrators. This is especially true during this pandemic as children are required to stay at home, and many women lost their livelihoods or were forced to stay home to tutor kids and care for the elderly.

“Dahil nabawasan sila ng mga pagkakataong kumita ngayong may pandemic, at napilitan manatili sa bahay, tinitiis na lang nila ang pananakit na ginagawa ng kanilang partner,” she said of many women victims.

Private and government partners such as SPARK! Philippines and the Philippine Commission on Women have pledged to support the city’s initiative by providing livelihood for women in the shelter.

The Mayor added that the city has further strengthened its QC Helpline 122 capabilities with its operators now trained to handle and process concerns of VAWC victims.

“Iisa lang naman ang gusto natin. Ang maipadama sa mga biktima ng karahasan ang isang tahanang ligtas, nag-aalaga, at nagmamahal sa kanila,” Belmonte emphasized.

Aside from Bahay Kanlungan, Quezon City has other social services and caring facilities, such as Bahay Aruga for abandoned, neglected, abused and indigent senior citizens; Reception and Action Center for displaced homeless individuals needing temporary shelter; Bantay Bata Children’s Village for neglected and abandoned children and children at risk; and Project Sagip Batang Solvent to rehabilitate streetchildren who have become users of solvent and rugby and keep them away from illegal drug activities and drug use.