The Cambodia PROTECT strategy is about communicating. It’s about raising awareness throughout society that violence against children is unacceptable, and that it is preventable. PROTECT is about making sure people know that a safe family environment is the best place for a child to grow and develop. The strategy enables people right across the country to spot the danger signs – signs of a child being physically abused at home, a teacher using corporal punishment or humiliating language in the classroom, or a family at risk of separating and placing their children in care. If families, schools, communities and authorities understand the lasting trauma of violence, abuse and neglect, and if they are aware of the dangers of unnecessary family separation, they can learn how to prevent it and how to help. Cambodia PROTECT can show them how.
Cambodia PROTECT works to ensure that people understand that any form of violence, and any unnecessary family separation, is wrong. Accepted social norms and out-dated ideas can lead to children being physically and emotionally abused, and to family breakdown and unnecessary separation. These norms need to be challenged and people’s behaviour needs to change, to PROTECT our most vulnerable citizens–our children, our future.
A whole range of outreach and awareness-raising activities is being rolled out across Cambodia, focusing first on the target provinces of Kandal, Preah Sihanouk, Battambang and Siem Reap, and the municipality of Phnom Penh. The scope of the campaign is such that its messages will reach every province and municipality in Cambodia through mass media, community engagement, interactive communication technology, and advocacy. These will all play a role in getting the message out to every corner of the country: Cambodia has zero tolerance for violence against children, and unnecessary family separation must be prevented.