Standard Operating Procedures in Extending Legal Assistance to Women and Their Children
PAO Memorandum Circular No. 08-07

November 7, 2007





This circular defines and outlines the procedures and actions to be undertaken by the lawyers and staff of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) in extending legal assistance to victims of violence against women and their children and in handling applications for protection orders, in consonance with Sections 13 and 35 (b) of ScHAIT


Definition of Terms

SECTION 1. The definition of terms provided under

1. Battery refers to an act of inflicting physical harm upon the woman or her child resulting to physical and psychological or emotional distress.

2. Children refer to persons below eighteen years of age, or older, but are incapable of taking care of themselves as defined under

3. Court is a family court or, in places where there are no family courts, any regional trial court.

4. refers to any act or a series of acts committed by any person against:

a) A woman:

i. who is his wife;

ii. who is his former wife;

iii. with whom the person has or had sexual or dating relationship;

iv. with whom he has a common child.

b) Her child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or outside the family abode; which results or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse, including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but not limited to, physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and economic abuse. EISCaD

5. Dating Relationship refers to a situation wherein the parties live as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or are romantically involved over time and on a continuing basis during the course of the relationship.

A casual acquaintance or ordinary socialization between two individuals in a business or social context is not a dating relationship.

6. Economic Abuse refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent which includes, but not limited to the following:

a. Withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in Article 73 of the

b. Deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common;

c. Destroying household property; and

d. Controlling the victim's own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or properties.

7. Members of the family shall include the husband and wife, parents and children, the ascendants or descendants, brothers and sisters, whether of full or half blood, whether living together or not.

8. Members of the household shall include:

a. Spouses, common-law spouses, former spouses, whether living together or not, and their children;

b. Relatives by consanguinity or affinity up to the sixth civil degree, including stepparents and stepchildren living together in the same house; and cHSIAC

c. Domestic helpers in the service of the employer, whose services are usually necessary or desirable for the maintenance and enjoyment of the home, who attend to the personal comfort and convenience of the members of the household.

9. Physical violence refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm.

10. Protection Order refers to an order issued by the Punong Barangay or the court to prevent further acts of

The three (3) types of protection orders are: Barangay Protection Order, Temporary Protection Order, and Permanent Protection Order.

11. Psychological Violence refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and marital infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs or to witness pornography in any forms, or to witness abusive injury to pets, or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children.

12. Sexual Relation refers to a single sexual act, which may or may not result in the bearing of a common child. cdrep

13. Sexual Violence refers to an act, which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her child. It includes, but not limited to:

a. Rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object, making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the sexual parts of the victim's body, forcing him/her to watch obscene publications and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser.

b. Acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion; and,

c. Prostituting the woman or her child.

14. Stalking refers to an intentional act of knowingly and without lawful justification, following the woman or her child or placing the woman or her child under surveillance, directly or indirectly or through a combination thereof.



SECTION 1. The Public Attorney's Office shall extend legal assistance to victims of

1. Merit Test; and

2. Indigency Test.

The standards set forth under DHITcS

Pursuant to the provisions of Sections 13 and 35 of de parte, PAO may represent the other party.


Legal Assistance to Clients

SECTION 1. Legal Assistance to Women and Children Subjected to Abuse. The assistance of the Public Attorney's Office to women and children who are victims of violence under

a. Legal advice or consultation;

b. Conduct of pre-litigation/mediation conference between the parties in cases involving economic abuse, with the express consent of the victim and where there is no imminent danger to her life and limb and those of her children;

c. Preparation of affidavits and other pertinent papers necessary to the filing of the complaint for violence against women or children, petition/application for protection order and/or civil action for damages;

d. Filing of petition/application for protection order;

e. Representation in courts in cases of petition for protection order and/or civil action for damages.

SECTION 2. Provisional Legal Assistance. Pending verification on the applicant's indigency and evaluation of the merit of her/his case, the Public Attorney's Office may provide legal assistance to women and their children who are victims of violence in cases where a pleading has to be filed immediately to avoid adverse effects to the applicant, except when the same would give rise to conflict of interest. aTDcAH

When at anytime, during the hearing of the application for protection order, the Public Attorney finds that the petitioner/applicant is not qualified for PAO legal assistance, he/she should be referred to any other public and/or free legal aid organization and/or be duly advised to retain the services of a counsel of his/her own choice.

SECTION 3. Handling of Cases. In the handling of cases involving violence to women and their children, the First Come First Serve Policy embodied in


Procedure in Extending Legal Assistance to Women and Children Subjected to Violence

SECTION 1. Walk-in Clients. For clients who seek the services of the Office, or who visit the same for consultation, the following procedures shall be observed:

a. When a person visits the Office to seek legal advice for a problem concerning

In qualifying the person for the Indigency Test, the Public Attorney or staff shall require the submission of any of the following: the latest Income Tax Return (ITR), DSWD Certificate of Indigency, Barangay Certificate of Indigency, or other pertinent proof of indigency. In situations where the victim woman or child lacks access to family or conjugal resources, such as when the same are controlled by the perpetrator, this shall qualify the victim as an indigent, and free legal assistance of PAO shall therefore be afforded to her/him.

b. If the person is qualified to avail of free legal assistance, the Public Attorney shall advise her/him on the proper action to be taken, including the filing of the application/petition for protection order.

In filing the application/petition for protection order, the Public Attorney shall prepare the pleadings, as well as the affidavits of the applicants and the witnesses in support thereof. TEAaDC

c. If the person does not qualify for free legal assistance after applying the merit and indigency tests, he/she should be referred to any other public and/or free legal aid organization and/or be duly advised to seek the legal assistance of a counsel of his/her own choice.

d. Whether or not the person is qualified to avail of free legal assistance, the Public Attorney shall cause to be entered in the Logbook for Cases of

Entry No.

Date Received

Name and Address of Victim/Complainant

Name and address of Parents/Guardian of the victim

Name and Address of Respondent

Assistance Given


Each PAO District Office shall maintain a separate logbook for cases involving

e. In an application/petition for protection order, the appearance and assistance of PAO shall extend up to the final resolution of the case.

f. In the event a criminal Information is filed in court against the accused, as a result of PAO's assistance to the complainant at the prosecutor's office, the active prosecution of the criminal case in court shall immediately be turned over to the public prosecutor. IATSHE

SECTION 2. Where Appearance of PAO is Through Court Appointment.

Where an application/petition for protection order is filed in court through the assistance of any person mentioned in Section 9 of

However, in case of conflict of interest or after determining that the applicant can afford to hire the services of a counsel de parte, the handling Public Attorney shall withdraw his appearance, and thereafter refer the applicant to any other public and/or free legal aid organization or advise him/her to retain the services of a counsel of his/her own choice.



SECTION 1. Sanction. Willful and unjustified deviation from these Procedures on the part of the PAO lawyer shall warrant the imposition of sanctions in accordance with the


Final Provision

SECTION 1. Suppletory Character. These Procedures shall be suppletory to

SECTION 2. Repealing Clause. Memorandum Circular No. 01, Series of 2006 on the Standard Office Procedures in Extending Legal Assistance to Women and Their Children who are victims of violence, other circulars, issuances and memoranda or any portion thereof inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed and/or modified accordingly.

SECTION 3. Effectivity. This Memorandum Circular shall take effect on December 7, 2007.

Signed this 7th day of November 2007, Quezon City. HEASaC

Chief Public Attorney

<http://www.pao.gov.ph/UserFiles/Public_Attorney%27s_Office/file/PAO-MC-VAWC.pdf> last visited on July 10, 2012.