Other acts of child abuse
"Jane and I agreed that she would bring my daughter to Manila, and she would act as her guardian while my daughter attends her primary education. When I visited my daughter, I discovered that she had burns on her body. My daughter relayed to me that Jane sent her to attend to the store, but she fell asleep. Jane allegedly got angry and laid my daughter on top of an ironing board and placed a heated iron on her. The latter evaded the heated iron hence, her elbow and back were burned instead. I confronted Jane regarding the matter, and I told her that her actions were already considered as child abuse, but she said that she was not liable for any crime because she only wanted to chastise my daughter for not following her order. She further claimed that her friend advised her that I must prove that her acts must be prejudicial to the child’s development before she could be made liable for child abuse. Please guide me.
Jane’s action may constitute child abuse, which is punishable under Republic Act (RA) 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.” Child abuse is defined under Section 3 (b), Article 1, of same law as “referring to the maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the child which includes any of the following: (1) psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment (2) any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being xxx”Relative thereto, Section 10 (a), Article VI of the said law also states:
“Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation or be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development including those covered by Article 59 of PD No. 603, as amended, but not covered by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period.”Please be guided by the case of Del Pose vs. People of the Philippines (GR 210810, Dec. 7, 2016), where the Supreme Court through Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta said:
“xxx As gleaned from the foregoing, the provision punishes not only those enumerated under Article 59 of the Presidential Decree No. 603, but also four distinct acts, i.e., (a) child abuse, (b) child cruelty, (c) child exploitation and (d) being responsible for conditions prejudicial to the child’s development. The Rules and Regulations of the questioned statute distinctly and separately defined child abuse, cruelty and exploitation just to show that these three acts are different from one another and from the acts prejudicial to the child’s development. Contrary to petitioner’s assertion, an accused can be prosecuted and be convicted under Section 10 (a), Article VI of Republic Act No. 7610 if he commits any of the four acts therein. The prosecution need not prove that the acts of child abuse, child cruelty and child exploitation have resulted in the prejudice of the child because an act prejudicial to the development of the child is different from the former acts.”Applying the above-cited decision in your situation, Jane’s act in placing a hot iron on your daughter falls squarely under the provisions of Section 10 (a), Article VI of RA 7610. The said provision of law punishes four (4) distinct acts: (a) child abuse, (b) child cruelty, (c) child exploitation and (d) being responsible for conditions prejudicial to the child’s development. Thus, Jane has no legal basis on her claim that you need to prove that the abuse, cruelty or exploitation must result in the prejudice of your daughter. An act prejudicial to the development of the child is different or another punishable act.We find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Thus, the opinion may vary when the facts are changed or further elaborated. We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to "
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"Other acts of child abuse"
was written by Mary
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comments. The article was created on 15 September 2021
and updated on 15 September 2021