A new report from human rights group LICADHO has said law enforcement against domestic violence is still weak, noting that few cases ever make it to trial.
The report, “No Punishment, No Protection: Cambodia’s Response to Domestic Violence”, was published on Saturday and is based on a review of 237 closed domestic violence cases from 2014 to 2016.
More than 40 percent of the cases ended with the victim of violence remaining in the violent relationship, it said, adding that only one fifth led to criminal proceedings being brought against the perpetrator.
The remaining cases ended in separation or divorce but no criminal proceedings.
The report found that family pressure, religious beliefs, poverty and an under-resourced and corrupt justice system all play a part in the lacklustre law enforcement against domestic violence perpetrators.
“Cambodia’s current response to domestic violence is ineffective, giving women little option but to remain in violent situations,” the report said.
LICADHO called on the government to be clear in its condemnation of domestic violence as a criminal offence and to put greater effort and resources into implementation of the law and provision of services for victims.
LICADHO deputy director Naly Pilorge said it is the time Cambodia’s criminal justice system take strict measures against domestic violence.
“There are a lot of rules for responding to this issue, but it requires more accurate enforcement,” she said.Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said the ministry would review and investigate what LICADHO had found.
“We do not just use one legal mechanism to prevent domestic violence,” he said. “We use education and all kinds of social affairs measures.
We carry out the law according to the criminal code without exception, compromise or negotiation outside the court system, so we welcome their report and we will further study and check their observations.”