Medical Staff to Be Trained to Respond to Domestic Violence

In an effort to better tackle the damaging effects of domestic violence, health workers across Cambodia will receive training next year to help them meet the needs of abused women and children.

Hospitals and health care centers across the country regularly treat those injured by their partners or relatives, but doctors, nurses and midwives are often unable to go beyond providing medical care, said CARE Cambodia’s program director Tanya Barnfield.

“Health care providers that can identify violence, provide quality care and refer for services will help end the cycle of violence,” she said in an email on Monday.

More than 1 in 5 Cambodian women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, but more than half of them have not sought help, the 2014 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey found.

A critical component of the training program will be teaching medical staff how to assess needs and refer their patients to relevant legal and social support services, including counseling, shelters and the police, Ms. Barnfield said.

Health care NGOs, such as CARE, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs helped the Ministry of Health in developing the training program, which was delivered to representatives of multiple departments within both ministries last month.

Catherine Breen Kamkong, the U.N. Population Fund’s acting representative to Cambodia, said ministry officials would train their provincial counterparts in the coming weeks, and those colleagues would then teach medical staff next year.

“We hope that through the training, we will be able to begin the process of improved care for survivors of violence,” she said in an email.

“It is hoped that the health workers will have some additional skills to provide the care and first-line support that survivors of violence have a need and a right to,” she added.

Ms. Breen Kamkong said the training would initially be rolled out to 30 percent of health care facilities in 14 provinces, with hopes of extending it to medical providers in the country’s remaining 11 provinces when additional funding is secured.

Phon Puthborey, a spokesman for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, did not respond to requests for comment, while Health Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann declined to comment, referring questions to others who could not be reached.

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