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Cambodia Launches Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Children

 VAC Action Plan_English

JOINT PRESS RELEASE

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 11 December 2017 – The Government of Cambodia announced today the launch of its first ever Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Children 2017- 2021, marking another positive step forward in the country’s commitment to ending all forms of violence against children.

Her Excellency Men Sam An, Deputy Prime Minister, said: “Children are the future of our country. Fulfilling the rights of children to be protected from violence, abuse and exploitation is everybody’s responsibility. The Government of Cambodia will continue to work with development partners and civil society to protect vulnerable children and families, to ensure that robust legal and policy frameworks are in place, and to strengthen the capacity of social service providers, all of which are critical to promoting the rights of children and their families.”

The Action Plan sets the roles and responsibilities, as well as the activities to be carried out by various governmental and non-governmental agencies. It includes five key areas of interventions across the sectors of health, social welfare, education and justice at national, provincial, district and community levels.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Ms Marta Santos Pais highlighted the contribution effective implementation of Cambodia’s Action Plan will make to global and regional development goals. “Protecting children from violence is essential if we are to realize the vision of the sustainable development agenda of a world free from fear and violence for all children. The implementation of the Action Plan provides a pathway for Cambodia to achieve this global goal, as well as the ASEAN goal of ending violence against children in the region. It is now critical to move with a deep sense of urgency and ensure that the Action Plan produces tangible results that strengthen the protection of children and makes their right to a volence free childhood a reality,” said Ms Santos Pais.

Her Excellency Dr. Ing Kanthaphavi, Minister of Women’s Affairs said: “The launch of the first Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Children (2017- 2021) illustrated that under the wise leadership of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Royal Government of Cambodia, Cambodia has joined the global movement asserting that violence against children is never justifiable, nor is it inevitable. If its underlying causes are identified and addressed, violence against children is preventable. I strongly hope that through this Action Plan, Cambodian children are safer and protected from violence, effective interventions are in place when children experience violence, and perpetrators are held accountable for their misconduct.”

Adopting a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude and in line with the global movement to end violence against children, the Action Plan, comes as a response to the findings of the Cambodia Violence against Children Survey (CVACS) conducted in 2013 by the Government of Cambodia. The CVACS provided evidence on the prevalence and magnitude of physical, emotional and sexual violence experienced by children in Cambodia and has prompted action from the Government, civil society and development partners.

“I believe that to reach our overall goal to prevent and respond to violence against children in Cambodia, and to address all forms of violence and discrimination against children in line with the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other national and international legal frameworks, we must rely and depend on one another. No single individual, ministry, or sector can face this challenge alone. We must take concerted actions and joint collaborations to address these complex issues together for the best interest of our children,” said His Excellency Vong Sauth, Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation.

The 2013 survey found that children in Cambodia experience and witness violence in their public and private spheres, at home, at school, in their communities and online. More worryingly, this violence was most frequently perpetrated by people children know and trust. The study found that one in every two children in Cambodia report having experienced physical violence. One in 20 people reported that they had experienced sexual violence before reaching the age of 18. Child marriage prevalence is up to nearly 60 per cent in some regions in Cambodia. Child trafficking and child online sexual abuse are also issues that are causing detrimental effects on children.

“Violence committed against children is not only an infringement of their rights but also contributes to a broad range of negative emotional, physical and psychological consequences,” said Ms. Debora Comini, UNICEF Representative to Cambodia. “This devastates children’s chance of reaching their full potential. The long-lasting effects of violence against children can be severe including hindering children’s overall development and passing on violence in the home and in the community, from generation to generation,” added Ms. Comini.

Support systems and networks for child protection remain limited. There is also limited awareness among families and communities of the harms of various forms of violence against children, including use of violent methods to discipline children at home and in schools. The activities outlined in the Action Plan are designed to support efforts to develop and implement effective child-friendly strategies to prevent violence and to improve services for both boys and girls who experience violence.

Adolescents and young people played an important role in developing and finalizing the Action Plan through active participation in discussions and policy dialogue. “I am glad to see that this has been accomplished with our contribution and is recognized by the Government. I hope through the implementation of this Action Plan, violence against children will be reduced until it is eliminated through changing perpetrators’ mindset and behaviour, and awareness raising with the participation of governmental and non-governmental agencies and institutions,” said Say Visal from the Adolescent and Youth Reference Group, supported by UNICEF.

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, and Youth Rehabilitation led the development of the Action Plan in collaboration with the Steering Committee on Violence against Women and Violence against Children, made up of 13 key government ministries and agencies. Development partners, civil society organizations, UN agencies and young people have also been critical in the development of the Action Plan.

Note to the Editor:

Since the release of the 2013 Cambodia Violence against Children Survey findings, there have been increased efforts by the Government and NGOs to implement initiatives to better protect children, in parallel with the formulation of the Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Children 2017- 2021. The Action Plan for Improving Child Care 2016- 2018 was approved by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, which aims to promote family preservation, de-institutionalization and reintegration of children in residential care back into their homes and communities. The positive parenting strategy with training toolkits was endorsed by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, with the aim to raise awareness as well as nurture relationships between parents and children. The teacher training on positive discipline and effective classroom management implemented by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has so far benefited a total of 405 primary schools, with approximately 121,500 girls and boys.

The Action Plan can be downloaded here: https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/results_for_children_27251.html

Join the conversation at #ForEveryChild #ENDViolence

For more information please contact:

Ministry of Women’s Affairs:
H.E. Nhean Sochetra, Director General for Social Development, Email: sochetra.nhean@yahoo.com,                                              Mobile: (+855) 12 758  986

Keth Mardy, Director of Legal Protection Department,                    Email: mardy_keth@yahoo.com, Mobile: (+855) 12 433 681

Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation:
H.E. Touch Channy, Director General of the Directorate of Technical Affaires, Mobile: (+855) 12 417 367

UNICEF Cambodia:
Iman Morooka, Email: imorooka@unicef.org;                            Mobile: (+855) 92 555 294

Bunly Meas,  Email: bmeas@unicef.org,                                      Mobile: (+855) 12 733 909

 Download the PDF press release in Khmer and English.

 

 
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