Gov’t Announces New Plan to Stop Violence Against Women

As violence against women remains pervasive throughout the country, the government on Tuesday launched a second action plan that it hopes will help give women greater protection.

The National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women 2014-2018 focuses on preventing gender-based violence and aims to provide greater legal protection and services to women who are victims of it.

Women’s Affairs Minister Ing Kantha Phavi said during a speech at the launch of the new initiative at the InterContinental Hotel that it is a follow-up to a similar one that ran between 2009 and 2012.

“We have observed that this plan has achieved remarkable success as the data of violence against women in Cambodia has decreased,” Ms. Kantha Phavi said.

Yet despite the minister’s claims of success, a 2013 U.N. study found that one in five of about 1,800 men interviewed admitted to having raped a woman. The study also found about 34 percent of men surveyed said they had committed physical or sexual violence against a woman.

Wenny Kusuma, country director of U.N. Women, which helped prepare both plans, said on the sidelines of Tuesday’s event the new plan differs from the previous one because there will be increased monitoring and evaluation.

But Ros Sopheap, executive director of the NGO Gender and Development for Cambodia, said that while the new plan was more comprehensive than the last, she was not optimistic about its success.

“I was concerned that if there is no budget, how can the action plan be a success?” Ms. Sopheap said. “The reality of the implementation is that…the government needs to put the budget in line with the plan.”

Opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua was also concerned that the plan would fail to achieve real change.

“The plan is nothing different than the last plan,” she said. “There needs to be someone there who goes against the system…. It is the system that keeps women as victims.”

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