TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte — The number of cases of sexual abuse of minors in Eastern Visayas has increased during the first half of the year.
Records of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office showed that it received 127 cases of such cases victimizing children seven to 18 years old.
This is about 16.5 percent more than the 109 cases of rape, incest, and acts of lasciviousness committed on children as monitored by the DSWD-8 during the same period last year.
The DSWD-8 records showed that the province of Leyte (25 cases) and Ormoc City (20) posted the highest number of sexual abuse cases in the last six months.
Biliran had 19 cases; Tacloban City, 15; Maasin, 10; Southern Leyte, nine; Calbayog, Samar, and Eastern Samar, eight each; and Northern Samar with five cases.
The number of sexual abuse cases could be higher as some cases are not reported to their office, said Marlene Kahano, head of the DSWD-8 community-based services unit.
Kahano, however, said there is no cause for alarm over this increase.
“This only meant that our advocacy campaign for the victims or their relatives to come out in the open and report their ordeal is becoming effective,” she explained.
“They know now where to report their ordeal,” she added. Kahano said that some of the sexual abuse cases reported to their office happened even “months” back.
All victims of sexual abuses, Kahano said, were given the necessary assistance by their office like medical and legal assistance, financial help, and psycho-social interventions.
She noted that sexual abuses could happen anytime even within the victim’s home. More often than not, the victims knew the perpetrators.
With the increasing willingness of victims to report their ordeal, Kahano also sought the support of the police and local government units in taking care of the victims.