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State plans ‘one-stop’ domestic violence centre

State plans ‘one-stop’ domestic violence centre

THE Ministry of Women’s Affairs yesterday announced plans to create a “one-stop services centre” for victims of rape, domestic violence and trafficking in Phnom Penh, which would also aim to collate nation-wide data on abuses against women and children.

Sy Define, secretary of state at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said the centre, which officials hope to establish by 2012, would aim to coordinate services from police, court officials and NGOs in a bid to enable victims to more effectively seek legal action against perpetrators.

She said the establishment of a reliable central data collection system would also enable officials to better track and target abuses against women and children.

“Violence against women still happens, but we don’t know if it increases or decreases because NGOs like Adhoc [and] Licadho have different statistics from us,” she said.

The government was also concerned, she said, with training police and the judiciary in how to process cases of violence against women, which are often settled out of court.

“We must tell local authorities that rape is not [to be] compensated with money, but perpetrators must face legal action,” she said, adding that officials “must be trained to act as plaintiffs to file complaints against abuse instead of victims’ families”.

Hang Puthea, secretary of the Cambodian branch of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, welcomed the announcement from the government, saying it could result in more perpetrators being prosecuted.

“The court seems not to receive many domestic violence cases,” he said.

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