Child protection in Lao PDR faces different challenges. There is limited data and few community-based child protection services to assist children at risk or in situations of harm. Violence, abuse and exploitation of children are difficult to measure, as they are often hidden within the family and community, and exacerbated by gender inequity and marginalization of the poor, both in urban and rural environments.
Lao Social Indicator Survey (LSIS II) reveals that:
- 69% of children aged 1-14 experienced some form of violent discipline during the last month.
- 25.4% of Lao mothers/caretakers of children aged 1-14 believe that physical punishment is necessary.
- 73% of children under 5 years of age are registered with civil authorities.
- 32.7% of women aged 20-49 are married before they reach the age of 18.
There is a need to further harmonize national policies and laws with international legal obligations and translate them into practice through dissemination, enforcement and implementation.
It is also important to mention that the institutional and human resources for child care are limited, as are family support and community-based child protection services.
Finally, awareness about violence and its impact on children is low at all levels, and social norms that perpetuate the use of violence are widely accepted.