Phnom Penh, 17 September 2022 (TDI): UNICEF launched an evaluation report for the Action Plan launched by Cambodia to prevent violence against children. The report was launched at an event organized by the Cambodian government.

It examined the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children, which ran between 2017 and 2021.

On 16 September 2022, the Royal Government of Cambodia hosted an event to recognize Cambodia’s progress in tackling violence against children, The event was co-hosted by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) and UNICEF.

Vong SAUTH, Minister of MoSVY, and Foroogh Foyouzat, UNICEF’s Representative in Cambodia attended the event, Moreover, ​MIKAMI Masahiro, Ambassador of Japan to the Kingdom of Cambodia was also present.

According to UNICEF, the report is an assessment of the implementation, efficiency, and impact of the action plan. It also studied the expanded prevention interventions, improved response, access to quality services, and multi-sectoral cooperation in this domain.

End Violence Action Plan:

In 2019, Cambodia launched a formal political commitment to end violence against children through continued and strengthened national action. It started an Action Plan to end violence against children with the help of UNICEF.

The Action Plan is part of a larger effort of the Royal Government of Cambodia to strengthen the national child protection system. The country has made numerous efforts to prioritize and tackle the critical issue of violence against children.

The Action Plan was initiated by a multi-sectoral coalition for the first time. It was led by MoSVY and managed through a Steering Committee including representatives from 13 Cambodian Government Ministries and NGOs.

Cambodia is also the first country in the Asia-Pacific to conduct a national survey on violence against children namely the Cambodia Violence Against Children Survey. The Survey revealed that 50% of children had experienced physical violence.

The government also organized a national policy dialogue to identify key areas of progress, gaps, and priorities in scaling-up evidence-based strategies to end violence against children. They also submitted a Leaders’ Statement that reflected the high-level commitment to end violence.

Under the Action Plan, Cambodia looks to strengthen the effective implementation of policy and governance and promote the criminal justice system. It also promotes measures to prevent exploitation and strengthen community safety to avoid child sexual abuse.

UNICEF evaluation:

The End Violence Partnership and UNICEF supported the country in evaluating the Action Plan. The evaluation recognizes the coherent design and effectiveness of the plan across provinces.

It also made recommendations on better strengthening monitoring, evaluation, multi-sectoral cooperation, and financing for the plan.

The evaluation commended the effectiveness of the multi-sectoral approach for the Action Plan. It found that Cambodia’s approach is well aligned with international standards and frameworks.

Moreover, it observed that a major factor in the Plan’s progress was sustained political will and Government engagement at all levels.

However, the report observed that the implementation of the Action Plan was still at an early stage. This is a particular concern as studies show that the pandemic may have led to rise in violence against children.

Correspondingly, 43% of children reported physical violence in the Cambodian Health and Demographic Survey 2022.

Consequently, it made recommendations to further strengthen the work of the Action Plan. A key recommendation was to build robust results monitoring into all activities. It will aid in monitoring more accurately in the years ahead.

The report highlighted that only then every child in Cambodia can be safe and protected from any kind of violence.

Remarks by Representatives:

The Minister of MoSVY said that the evaluation of the Action Plan is very encouraging for the Government. Additionally, he said that it shows Cambodia is on the right track to ending violence against Cambodian children.

The minister emphasized continuing to work together in a coordinated way to accelerate results. Consequently, he affirmed that Cambodia will continue to prioritize the safety of children in every setting.

Foroogh Foyouzat, UNICEF’s Representative in Cambodia also addressed the event. The Representative said that violence against children has a devastating impact which can damage whole communities and future generations.

Correspondingly, the Representative emphasized working more to achieve the goals of the Plan. Additionally, she highlighted the finalization of the upcoming child protection bill and increasing investment in the social welfare workforce and prevention programs.

The Representative said that supporting these are crucial if we are to keep children safe.

On the occasion, the Ministerial Decided to extend the plan to 2023. Furthermore, participants discussed the development of a new five-year National Action Plan to prevent violence. The Plan will run from 2024 to 2028.

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