Abused Women and Children Get Safe Haven, Care in Special Facility

Girls at the RDSC during a group activity which is part of their rehabilitation.

DAVAO ORIENTAL – Free from the clutches of cruelty and neglect, women and children who were victims of abuse get a renewed chance at life thanks to a special facility here that offers these survivors a new sense of hope.

A provincial government-run facility, the institution called Reception Study and Diagnostic Center (RSDC) has been housing women and children who have suffered physical abuse, sexual exploitation, neglect, trafficking, and bullying. It also caters to children involved in armed conflict and those who have suffered other types of violence and abuse. In addition, adults with special needs, particularly those with marital and family relationship problems, solo parents, and those in crisis situation are also being served.

THE HEALING EFFECTS OF PLAY: Children playing at the grounds of the RSDC facility.

Operating since the year 1999, the RSDC has been recognized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the only Local Government Unit-initiated project in the country which has sustained programs and services for the welfare of women and children in a 24-hour operation.

Aside from gaining recognition, the facility has been benchmarked by other regions in the country for its best practices and is now being made a pilot testing area for rape-crisis intervention.

Center Manager Meravic Laquinon interviews a father who admits his two children at RSDC facility. 

From July to December 2016, the facility has catered at least 110 clients, receiving free food and lodging and getting the best care a government facility can offer. Among the essential services provided in this facility are psychosocial therapies, medical intervention, legal services, spiritual enhancement, and educational services, among many others. The facility currently has at least 11 clients who are students that the provincial government supports.

The 4,000 square-meter area of the RSDC is located at the LGU Social Welfare Complex in Purok DA, Barangay Matiao in the City of Mati

The RSDC, which is being considered a safe haven for victims of violence, fosters independence and self-confidence among its residents through provision of livelihood opportunities. The residents only stay in the facility in an average of six months to two years prompting the management to equip them with the necessary skills and defense mechanisms to adapt to their lives in the mainstream society.

Catering to the peculiar needs of these vulnerable residents are dedicated social workers, house parents, and an on call psychologist, ensuring that they feel safe and cared for.

PSWDO Head Sarah Gudes

“This facility aims to provide aid to women and children who are in crisis situation and who have nowhere else to go. These people have been traumatized and have been rendered helpless when they first got in,” said Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office Head Sarah Gudes, who stressed that proper interventions must be given in order to restore their functioning and well-being. “By giving them a temporary home and providing special care, we are giving them a renewed sense of hope which will help them face the future,” she said.  

“This is our way of empowering women and our children that no matter the adversities and cruelty they have experienced in life, there is still hope,” she said, stressing that the government’s role for rehabilitating  and caring for these survivors of violence cannot be overemphasized.

For the year 2017, the Provincial Government has allocated P 1.2 million budget for the facility’s operation. Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang, who has continued his predecessor’s mission of advocating for the rights of women and children, has vowed to sustain and improve this facility which has been touching and impacting many lives over the years.

“It is our moral obligation to advocate for human rights, especially the most vulnerable group who are the women and children,” says Dayangirang. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan


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