Need for Law Seen After Wife Killed at Home

The beating death of a Battam­bang woman on Oct 27 reiterates the need for a speedy ratification of the country’s long-awaited domestic violence law and a tougher stand on such crimes, a leading rights worker said Sun­day.

Banan District police Chief Buth Sambo said Sunday the attack occurred after Yon Savath, 24, and her husband, Chhorn Phun, 32, argued over his de­mands for sex and money to pay off a debt.

At one point, Chhorn Phun allegedly hit his wife with an iron bar on the arm and head and when she fell to the ground unconscious, Chhorn Phun then reportedly stabbed her in the back of the neck, Buth Sambo said.

Upon hearing the fight, Yon Savath’s older brother and mother ran into the room and were also struck with the iron bar.

Thirty-five-year-old Kroeurn Chheang’s arm was broken and Pheat Soth, 59, was hit in the head.

Buth Sambo said Chhorn Phun is still at large. The couple had been married for about a year and Chhorn Phun was a construction worker, he said. Buth Sambo said he has had several such slayings in his district in the last two years.

Kek Galabru, founder of local human rights group Licadho, on Sunday called for the adoption of a domestic violence law and for strict implementation to deter such crimes.

“First, we need law,” Kek Galabru said.

“Second, we need to enforce the law by training police officers to understand the importance of the domestic violence law. Fin­ally, we have to create shelters for victims and train those victims with the proper skills for life,” she said.

“It is a serious matter…. Dom­estic violence is not one family’s problem, it is an issue for everybody and affects our society,” she added.

The government has been working on a draft domestic violence law since the mid-1990s and is expected to be completed in 2005.

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