Senator Grace Poe wants to amend the Family Code or Republic Act 8533 to embody repeated sexual violence or a partner’s abusive conduct to be grounds for legal separation.

“As it stands now, the provision requires repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct in order to justify a legal separation. The working is problematic because the abuse must be repeated or grossly abusive sexual abuse, putting the life of the victim at risk and it does not recognize sexual abuse which is what usually happens in the privacy of homes,” she mentioned.

Poe famous that below the Civil Code, any bodily violence lower than an try on the lifetime of the opposite partner will not be a floor for legal separation.

“A husband who physically manhandles the life every time he is drunk without intent to kill was not a ground for legal separation. This ground was retained in Article 55 of the Family Code as one of the grounds for legal separation. While the enumeration of the grounds under the same Article has recognized attempts on the life of the spouse without intent to kill as sufficient reason to grant legal separation, it has required proof of repetitiveness and gross abuse from the victim to legally separate from an abusive spouse,” she mentioned.

“The seemingly innocuous wording of this ground has put undue burden on victim spouses who would have wanted to legally separate from their abusers but could not do so until they are physically and emotionally battered due to multiple instances of abuse. Why should we wait until abuse has become repetitive or gross? We should stop abuse at the first instance and we should not allow abusers to take refuge behind gaps in the law,” Poe mentioned.

The proposed modification, the senator mentioned, will apply to each spouses no matter gender.

Yet Poe admitted that the updating of the grounds for legal separation will undoubtedly profit girls extra as they comprise the vast majority of reported home violence instances.