Domestic Violence Prevention Campaign Starts

Spanish NGO Paz y Desarollo officially launched a five-year, government-supported campaign to prevent domestic violence against women yesterday, an effort that will include messages broadcast on television and radio, officials said.

The campaign comes after a government report concluded that violence against women is widely accepted in Cambodia and that prevention and protection efforts remain weak.

Sy Define, secretary of state for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said at yesterday’s campaign launch that Cambodia had yet to achieve the Millenium Development Goal on gender equality. The goal, one of eight endorsed by 189 nations in 2000, includes a target to reduce significantly all forms of violence against women and children.

“We are not satisfied yet,” Ms Define said in the capital. “We are continuing our efforts to ensure that awareness of the people is increased.”

But Ms Define also pointed to signs of progress in reducing domestic violence, citing the Ministry of Women’s Affairs “Violence Against Women 2009 Follow-Up Survey,” which was released June 29.

Although the report found that “some forms of violence against women are still widely accepted,” it also found indications of progress. For example, the percentage of those surveyed who knew an abusive husband dropped from 64% in a 2005 survey to 53% in the 2009 poll. Some 3,000 Cambodians were questioned nationwide for both surveys, which were conducted by Indochina Research, according to a copy.

The new campaign to prevent domestic violence will target men, especially illiterate men, according to information handed out at yesterday’s event. The campaign is modeled on a similar one started in Vietnam in 2008.

In a telephone interview after the event, PyD Communications Officer Irene Sanchez-Prieto said her group plans to coordinate a campaign involving local groups and that details are still being determined. The effort will include face-to-face activities, she added.

Funding for the first phase of the project is being provided by German Development Agency GTZ and the Spanish government, GTZ Country Director Heinrich-Jurgen Schilling wrote in an e-mail.

 

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