Key Factors that Constitute an Effective Assessment Center for OSEC Victim-Survivors in the Philippines.

Research paper

There are about 750,000 predators online at any given moment of the day who are prowling the internet to gain contact with vulnerable children and to obtain an image and video materials of child pornography (UN 2017). The growing accessibility and availability of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the Philippines, along with the nation’s increasing level of poverty incidence (ADB 2019), paved the way for sexual abuse and exploitation of children to transition to the online domain and for the distribution of such images and videos to reach internationally. This growing menace in the country known as OSEC is "the production, for the purpose of online publication, or visual or audio depictions, including photos, videos, and livestreaming, of the sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor for a third party who is not in the physical presence of the victim"(IJM 2017). The problem has massively grown into a full scale when the Philippines was infamously dubbed as the “global epicenter" of live-streamed child pornography (UNICEF 2016). Attesting to this notoriety is the staggering number of cyber-tips received by organizations like IJM reaching more than 2,000 every month. Out of these reports, more than 300 children were rescued with the help of local law enforcement in the past four years. To offer the necessary care for rescued OSEC victims, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Philippines (NCM Philippines) opened an assessment center (AC) for OSEC victims on September 8, 2018. The AC is a new component to the aftercare continuum for OSEC cases in the country. Instead of being placed in a shelter with other children who experienced different kinds of abuse and exploitation, rescued OSEC victims can be taken in the AC where they can be provided a comprehensive physical and psychological assessment. The OSEC victims in the AC are also serviced by family social workers who help determine the best reintegration path for the children—1) reunification with non-offending kin, 2) foster care, or 3) residential care. Shechem’s mission is to "provide protection, quality care and clear outcomes for children, thus ensuring them of positive opportunities in their future". Shechem Children's Home's clientele is girls and boys aged 0-17, who are victims of OSEC. Shechem also accommodates sibling groups. Clients stay in Shechem Children's Home for a period of up to 3 months, on average 8 weeks, after which they are reintegrated with their kin, they go to foster care, or they are referred to a middle-/long-term shelter (Shechem Children's Home Manual 2018). The following are the objectives of the assessment center (Shechem Children's Home Manual 2018): 1. To provide a comprehensive assessment to OSEC survivors and his/her family which will serve a basis for long term intervention (end to end intervention); 2. To provide a short term (one to three month) individualized case plan addressing all aspects of the survivors – physical, social, emotional and cognitive needs; 3. To train passionate and professional staff, team and stakeholders that will guide and journey with the children referred to our Home; 4. To contribute to the enhancement of the Care Standards to Filipino children in the shelter or institution; 5. To engage the stakeholders, mobilize them and to be engaged in the bigger movement in advocating for the rights of the vulnerable children Shechem Children's Home is the first AC established for immediate aftercare intervention for victims of OSEC in the Philippines. Such situations make this new element in the aftercare system for OSEC victims open to both promising possibilities and probable perils. To steer the AC towards the former and away from the latter, the research at hand aims to explore what is required to make Shechem Children's Home an effective AC for clients affected by OSEC.


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