The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation on Wednesday launched a campaign to end violence against women and children with the support of Unicef.
The ‘Strong Family’ communication campaign, which also aims to end unnecessary family separations, is the first national campaign of its kind, the ministry said in a press release.
“Violence is a serious concern, with over half the children in the country experiencing at least one form of violence before the age of 18.
“Childhood violence can have a multitude of long-lasting negative impacts on a child’s well-being in various aspects. Children exposed to violence often suffer a range of negative behavioural, psychological and physical consequences in adolescence and adulthood,” it said.
The ministry said the campaign marks another positive step toward Cambodia ending all forms of violence against children and unnecessary family separations.
It also aims to address social and cultural norms that legitimise violence against children and normalise the belief that residential care facilities are beneficial to a child.
The press release said poverty, lack of access to education and lack of social welfare support had contributed to families placing their children in residential care, where they think they will receive better care and education.
“Placement in residential care expose children to a greater risk of violence, exploitation and neglect, and can have severe consequences to their development,” it said.
Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth said the campaign was developed by the ministry and Unicef.
“Through the campaign, key messages will be disseminated nationwide through four major communication approaches – mass media, interactive communication technologies, community engagement and advocacy.
“The campaign targets children, parents, caregivers, community members, service providers, policymakers, the judiciary and the media,” he said.
Unicef representative in Cambodia Cristian Munduate said the campaign was an opportunity to mobilise all Cambodians to say no to violence and secure a healthy, safe environment for their children and their families.
“We need to take the campaign to the people – to every family, school, community and media. Violence affects all of us,” she said.