Rights group Adhoc said it had recorded 112 cases of domestic violence in 2020, a slight increase from 102 the previous year.
Mao Mab, Adhoc’s head of women and children division, said on March 24 the increase could be attributed to the decline in social morality. She said most cases involved men who returned home intoxicated and became violent towards their wives and children.
Mab said Adhoc had intervened by providing information to police. If the violence was minor such as a quarrel, the group would offer consultation services to resolve the conflict.
In some cases, she said women asked police or local authorities to arrest their husband for assaulting them but then requested a release when they recovered.
“This is the challenge we have seen, partly because they are poor. The women were not strong enough to manage the family without the husband. So, she needs the husband to support the family.
“This is why we have seen impunity and offences persist,” she said, adding that the offender would be sent to court if the violence resulted in disability or death.
She said the provinces that had recorded the most cases were Battambang, Preah Vihear, Tbong Khmum and Kampong Cham, with gender inequality considered the main cause of violence.
“[Some] men still have the view that they are the head of the family and so have the right to use violence against family members. The level of their education and morality remained low while social morality has also declined.
“We can see alcohol [brands] advertised everywhere, but we don’t see acceptable standards of behaviour promoted as much. It seems like men are encouraged to drink alcohols,” she noted.
A report from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs said gender-based violence harms women physically and mentally. It also poses threat and strips the victims of their rights and freedoms.
Soum Chenda, deputy director in charge of legal protection at the ministry, said when domestic violence happens the victim should seek intervention from the local authorities or relevant officials.
“When violence happens, the victim can ask for help from women’s affairs officials at the district, provincial or ministerial level. They have the right to seek for assistance, protection and justice,” she said.