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Child Abuse Rife Says NGO Report

Khmer Times Share:
Children welfare NGOs pointed out a variety of modern threats to children in a 68page report released yesterday. KT/Mai Vireak

Children in Cambodia face a range of threats to their safety including violence, sexual abuse and economic exploitation, with the justice system failing to prosecute alleged offenders, according to a 68-page report by a host of children’s welfare NGOs.
 
The report stated that more than 50 percent of children surveyed experienced a violent incident before the age of 18, with more than one child between the age of 13 and 17 witnessing physical violence in their home in the past 12 months. One in 20 said they had suffered at least one incident of sexual abuse before the age of 18.
 
It also noted that nearly 20 percent of children between the age of five and 17 are economically active, with 56.9 percent of them classified as child laborers and 31 percent working in hazardous labor conditions.
 
The organizations including World Vision, UNICEF, Plan International, Save the Children and Child Fund conducted research across 10 provinces, 32 communes and Phnom Penh.
 
The report said that despite the establishment of the Commune Committee for Women and Children (CCWC) by the government in 2007, there was often a lack of support in the justice system that failed to prosecute child abusers, with the CCWC and the Ministry of Social Affairs unable to provide services to commune levels yet.
 
The report condemned the CCWC, stating it did not understand its own mandated roles and responsibilities, lacked the technical capacity, accountability structure and the delivery of social services thanks to its limited budget, all attributing to the committee’s effectiveness and functionality.
 
A Unicef report in 2014 said that more than 50 percent of children experienced physical violence, 25 percent are emotionally abused and roughly five percent have experience sexual abuse. The health consequences of violence against children in Cambodia totaled $168 million in 2013, accounting for 1.10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
 
Sana Mot, director of the Program Implementation of Save the Children, said yesterday that the capacity building of the CCWC has still limited capacity for provision of social services but tthey lack of the resources to provide the services to women and children.
 
“It demands more attention to provide more resources and a larger budget to the committee,” he said.
 
“The government needs to look at how to improve the resources in order to build the capacity and expand the capacity to respond at a national level.”

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