[Press Release] Access to Justice: Case monitoring by the Philippine Deaf Resource Center 2006-2011

The Philippine Deaf Resource Center, Inc. (PDRC) presents its findings on monitoring of cases involving Deaf parties for the past five years, with a focus on data from its recent project, “Strategies for attaining legal access and safeguarding human rights of the deaf in the Philippines”, supported by the Human Rights Small Grants Scheme of the AusAID / Australian Government.

The PDRC reports over 325 cases in fourteen regions, involving two times as many females as males. Two-thirds of all these cases include the deaf as complainants, less than a third as respondents, and just a few as witnesses. The cases are about equally divided among those aged 18 / above and those below.

Among deaf respondents, rape and theft-related are the most common charges. With complainants, over half of the cases are filed for the crime of rape. The status of all cases are highly variable, with a tenth each of cases either confirmed ongoing, dismissed, or with promulgated decisions.

In only about a seventh of the cases has the PDRC been given the opportunity to administer the Visual Communication Assessment for the Deaf which provides basis for the recommendation of court-appointed sign language interpreters. It is unknown whether almost half of all the cases have any sign language interpreting at all. Of those which do have interpreters, there are twice more volunteer interpreters than confirmed court-appointed ones. Of forty unschooled deaf parties, only about a third of their cases have the necessary deaf relay interpreters.

A tenth of the crimes of all the cases took place either in 2011 or over ten years ago. However, there are no crimes reported prior to 1992. Time elapsed between the crime and referral ranged from less than a year to ten years. Most of the cases were referred within a year or less from the time of the crime. Referrals of cases are about equally divided between individuals and organizations. Among individuals who refer cases, most are referred by Deaf individuals themselves, followed by hearing interpreters. Of organizations which refer cases, the most are also referred by Deaf organizations. About a quarter of the cases referred by organizations were reported during the paralegal training videoconferences of the project during the past year.

Gender-based violence cases are predominantly rape. Of those where the age of the complainant is known, the highest number of cases were reported for the age range of 12 to 17 y.o. Of those complainants who have known backgrounds, more complainants are schooled than unschooled. However, the educational background of over half of the complainants are unknown. In cases where the hearing status of the perpetrator is known, there are more hearing perpetrators than deaf. Perpetrators are more frequently neighbors, brothers-in-law, fathers, acquaintances. or teachers. With the cases where the site of the crime is known, these took place most often in homes. Particularly disturbing cases include gang rape, rape/murder cases, clusters of cases involving several to numerous victims (specially of very young children) by a single perpetrator, and multiple incidents of rape through many years of individual girls/ women.

The implications of these findings in the context of policy of the Judiciary and Department of Justice, national budget appropriations, and State commitments to human rights shall be discussed.

 

For more information, contact:
Philippine Deaf Resource Center, inc.
c/o Dr. Liza B. Martinez – Director
Tel/fax 02.9218521  Mobile 0927.528.8662  Email pdrc@phildeafres.org
http://www.phildeafres.org

University of the Philippines College of Social Work & Community Development, Diliman, Q.C.
3 February 2012, Friday, 430-630pm; ground floor, AudioVisual Room

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