Civil society organisations yesterday asked the government to strengthen legal measures against perpetrators of violence against women and children.
The request was made at the 2018 One Billion Rising Campaign at the Chenla Theatre in Phnom Penh, where more than 300 people gathered to discuss protecting vulnerable women and children.
Ros Sopheap, executive director of the rights group Gender and Development for Cambodia, said she could not cite specific statistics, but knew through her work that women and children continue to suffer from domestic abuse, including beatings, rapes and murders.
“The situation has become more complicated because there are many cases of rape and murder,” she said. “We have worked for more than two decades to eliminate violence, but women and children are still unable to avoid violence and live in peace.”
Ms Sopheap asked the government to strengthen law enforcement, increase education and encourage citizens to report violence to the police to help eliminate domestic violence.
Thyda Khus, director of the charity Silaka, said people have more knowledge today about domestic violence than before, but cases continue to rise and the government must do something about it.
“The government must take measures to protect and provide women with opportunities to grow, enjoy their rights and to escape all violence,” she said. “When the government has the right policies, education and dissemination, the general public can fight this scourge.”
Eng Chandy, 26, who participated in the One Billion Rising Campaign, said there is a lot of involvement when it comes to education, but law enforcement seems to still be lacking.
Ms Chandy said the government should earmark more funds to go toward law enforcement in order to protect the rights of women and children. Minister of Women’s Affairs spokeswoman Phun Puthborey could not be reached for comment.
Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi has in the past outlined government policies and a strategic plan to prevent violence against women and children, including primary prevention, legal protection, legislation, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation.