Juco Law Firm

 What is the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 (Anti-VAWC Act)?

The law penalizes violence against women and their children as a public crime. These acts include physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence and economic abuse
These acts are punishable even if committed outside the house.

What is violence against women and their children or “VAWC” under the law?

This 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, inside or outside the family residence, which results or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse.

It includes threats of the above acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. 

Who is protected by the law?

Women and their children. 

Children” means the children of the abused woman, below 18 years old, legitimate or illegitimate, or 18 years old and above who are incapable of taking care of themselves, including children who are not her biological children but who are under her care.

If the acts are committed in the presence of the woman’s child, or if the woman or child is pregnant, the penalty shall be the maximum period prescribed by law.

For example, the woman’s niece who lives with her is a child under her care.

Who are liable?

Husbands, former husbands, present and former boyfriends or live-in partners, those with whom the woman has a common child, or anyone with whom she has/had a sexual or dating relationship.

Women can also be liable under “sexual or dating relationship.” These are the lesbian partners or former partners of the victim.

Example: A woman who has a child by her rapist who harasses or abuses her is protected by this law because they have a common child.

What is a “sexual relationship?”

It refers to at least a single sexual act. 

Example: A prostituted woman can avail of the remedies under the law if she is being harassed or abused or publicly humiliated by a man with whom she had a single sexual contact.

What are examples of punishable acts?

A: Economic abuse: 

a) not giving adequate financial support to the wife and/or minor children, 

b) controlling the conjugal business or conjugal or community property or the woman’s own money.

Psychological violence: 

a) marital infidelity

b) repeated verbal abuse

c) public humiliation

d) threatening the woman that she will lose her child

e) stalking or following the woman in her workplace, school or any public or private place without justification

Physical abuse: battery (physical injuries); frustrated parricide

Sexual violence: 

a) causing or attempting to make the woman or her child perform sexual acts (that do not constitute Rape) by using force, threats, intimidation directed against the woman, her child, or her immediate family, 

b) prostituting the woman or her child.

Who gets protected under the Law?   

The law recognizes the unequal relations between a man and a woman in an abusive relationship where the woman is usually at a disadvantage. Thus, the law protects the woman and her children.   

The victim-child who is a minor (legitimate and illegitimate), and a person aged 18 years and beyond who does not have physical and mental illness can make full use of the law.

Any child (whether own child or not) under the care of a woman is also protected under the law. 

What can women and children do under R.A. 9262? 

Under the law, offended party may file a criminal action, or apply for Protection Order either as an independent action or as an incident in civil or criminal action and other remedies.  

Is VAWC committed by men alone? 

Women can also be liable under the law. These are the lesbian partners/girlfriends or former partners of the victim with whom she has or had a sexual or dating relationship.   

What if the male spouse/partner complains about abuses committed by his wife/partner? 

He may file a complaint or case under the Revised Penal Code, but not under R.A. 9262.  

Who may file a complaint under RA 9262? 

Any citizen having personal knowledge of the circumstances involving the commission of the crime may file a complaint because violence against women and their children is considered a PUBLIC crime.   

Where should cases for VAWC be filed?  

Cases may be filed in the Regional Trial Court designated as FAMILY COURT of the place where the crime was committed. These courts have original and exclusive jurisdiction over these cases.   

What are the penalties for committing VAWC?

Offenders proven in court to be guilty of the crime shall be penalized with:   

• imprisonment ranging from 1 month) and 1 day to 20 years; 

• payment of P100,000 to P300,000 in damages; and  

• mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment.  


What is Battered Woman Syndrome 


RA 9262 acknowledges that women who have retaliated against their partner or who commit violence as a form of self-defense may have suffered from Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS).  

- BWS refers to a pattern of psychological and behavioral symptoms found in battered women as a result of long history of abuse.   

- Any victim who suffers from BWS should be diagnosed by a psychiatric expert or a clinical psychologist. This will also help the victim in obtaining a just decision in her case.   

- The law does not allow the offender (partner/husband) to have custody of minor children.  

- Their care is still entrusted to the woman even if she is found to have BWS.  


- It is an order issued by the Barangay or the Court to prevent further acts of violence against a woman or her child and to grant other necessary relief, under RA 9262. 

There are three (3) kinds TPO of protection order:   

1. Barangay Protection Order (BPO);  

2. Temporary Protection Order (TPO); and  

3. Permanent Protection Order (PPO). 



Anyone of the following may apply for protection order:   

a. The offended party; 

b. Parents, or guardians of the offended party; 

c. Ascendants, descendants or collateral relatives, within the fourth civil degree or consanguinity or affinity; 

d. Officers or social workers of the DSWD or LGUs ;

e. police officers. preferably those in-charge of women and children's desk; 

f. Punong barangay or barangay kagawad; 

g. Lawyers, counselors, therapists, health care providers of the petitioner; or  

h. At least two (2) concerned citizens of the city or municipality where VAWC happened and who have personal knowledge of the offense committed.


- Barangay VAW Desk in your Barangay Hall Provincial/City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office of Local Government Units  

- Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Community

-       Based Services Section (CBSS) Legarda, Manila Tel. Nos.: 733-0014 to 18 local 116/488-2861   

- Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) Camp Crame, Quezon City Aleng Pulis Text Hot-line: 0919-777-7377 Tel. No.: 410-3213/532-6690 Emergency Hotline: 911 Women and Children Protection Desk of nearest Precinct    

- National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Desk (VAWCD) Taft Avenue, Manila Tel. Nos.: 523-8231 to 38/525-6028   

- DOJ - Public Attorney's Office (DOJ-PAO) Tel. Nos.: 929-9010/929-9436 to 37 loc. 106/107   

- UP-PGH Women's Desk Tel. Nos.: 524-2990/567-3394 loc. 3072 DOH Hospitals, Women and Children Protection Unit   

- Women's Crisis Center (WCC) Women and Children Crisis Care and Protection Unit Vito Cruz, Manila Contact Nos.: 0999-577-9631/0928-420-0859  

Domestic Violence / Expert VAWC Philippines