Civil society organisations and youths yesterday called on the government and stakeholders to provide opportunities for children to participate in discussions on violence against children in a bid to resolve the issue and strengthen local child protection systems.
At the Child and Youth Conference on the Prevention and Response to Violence against Children in Phnom Penh, Child Rights Coalition Cambodia executive director Son Penh said that violence against children remains an issue in the Kingdom.
“Violence against children is also a difficult issue to solve, because it involves the participation of people at all levels,” Mr Penh said. “So, although there are campaigns, efforts to eliminate it would remain ineffective without the participation of parents, authorities and guardians.”
He urged the government and stakeholders to continue to increase its attention on the issue, as well as provide opportunities for children to participate in the consultations on preventing and eliminating violence against children.
“Child participation is very important, because this involves them and their rights,” Mr Penh said. “So, policy and decision makers should consult with them in order to make our intervention efforts and strategy to properly correspond to what is happening to children.”
Nhor Seavyeak, a 14-year-old student at Koh Sla Secondary School in Kampot province, said that in the area where she lives, most children are still subjected to violence by their parents and guardians.
“In my area, most of the parents push their children to work at the factory or as workers, and when we went to disseminate about children’s rights and asked the children to participate, their parents didn’t allow it,” she said. “Moreover, some parents like to consume alcohol, so when they come home, they commit violence on their children.”
Mao Reaksmi, a 17-year-old member of Child Advocate Network in Battambang province, asked relevant ministries and institutions to create more video clips about violence against children in the media in order to raise public awareness.
“There are already campaigns at home and other areas, but if possible, I would like to ask for more educational video clips broadcast in the media,” Ms Reaksmi said.
Touch Channy, director-general of the Ministry of Social Affairs’s technical department, said that the government has worked hard on eliminating child violence and promoting children’s rights through the dissemination of information and education, as well as creating relevant policies and regulations.
“Public understanding is still limited, some people are aware, but they still act like they don’t know and use violence on children, which is a challenge that we have to work together to address,” he said.