Phnom Penh, 19 February 2020 – The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) launched today its ‘Strong Family’ communication campaign, aiming to end violence against children and unnecessary family separation, the first national campaign of its kind. The launch took place during a high-level event supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), other ministries, development partners and…
Phnom Penh, 19 February 2020 – The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) launched today its ‘Strong Family’ communication campaign, aiming to end violence against children and unnecessary family separation, the first national campaign of its kind. The launch took place during a high-level event supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), other ministries, development partners and civil society organizations that share a common goal: to eliminate violence again children and unnecessary family separation. This marks another positive step towards Cambodia ending all forms of violence against children and unnecessary family separation.
The Strong Family Campaign aims to address the social and cultural norms that legitimize violence against children and normalize the belief that residential care facilities are beneficial to a child. Violence is a serious concern with over half of children in the country experiencing at least one form of violence before the age of 18. Childhood violence can have a multitude of long-lasting negative impacts on a child’s well-being in various aspects. Children exposed to violence often suffer a range of negative behavioral, psychological and physical consequences in adolescence and adulthood.
MoSVY and authorities in the five focus provinces have formulated and implemented national and provincial action plans for improving child care, aiming to return 30 per cent of children in residential care to their families during 2016-2018. As a result, the number of residential care institutions decreased significantly, however, approximately 17,000 children, were still living in residential care facilities in 2018.
While poverty, lack of access to education and lack of social welfare support contribute to families placing their children in residential care, it is also driven by the belief that children will receive better care and education in institutions. Placement in residential care exposes children to greater risk of violence, exploitation and neglect and can have severe consequences to their development.
Recognizing the importance of these issues, MoSVY adopted PROTECT: A Communication Strategy to End Violence and Unnecessary Family Separation in Cambodia (Cambodia PROTECT Communication Strategy). The Strong Family Campaign was developed based on Cambodia Protect.
His Excellency Vong South, Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation said: “The Cambodia PROTECT Communication Strategy was developed by MoSVY and UNICEF. It aims to raise awareness to eliminate violence against children and unnecessary family separation and to make sure people know that a safe family environment is the best place for a child to grow and develop.”
Through the Strong Family Campaign, key messages will be disseminated nationwide through four major communication approaches: mass media; interactive communication technologies; community engagement; and advocacy. The campaign targets children, parents, caregivers, community members, service providers, policy makers, the judiciary and the media.
“We need to take the campaign to the people – to every family, every school, every community, every media”, said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF’s Representative in Cambodia. “Violence affects all of us! This campaign is an opportunity to mobilize all Cambodians to say NO to violence and to secure a healthy, safe environment for their children and their families.”
In 2019, the Royal Government of Cambodia reinforced its commitment to end violence against children by becoming the 26th Pathfinding Country under the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children (GPEVAC). Cambodia strengthened its dedication to fully implement the inter-ministerial Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children, in which the Strong Family Campaign is one of the key priority activities.
MoSVY leads an inter-ministerial Technical Working Group to coordinate the implementation of the Strong Family Campaign. His Excellency Vong Sauth, Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation stressed the importance of full commitment and collaboration among all key stakeholders. “I welcome partnerships with the UN agencies, national and international organizations, development partners, civil society organizations, the private sector, government authorities at all levels, teachers, parents, caregivers and children as an indispensable force to make the campaign a big success. Together, we will end violence against children and unnecessary family separation in Cambodia,” he said.
Notes to Editors:
About the Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Children 2017-2021
Cambodia is the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to conduct a national survey on violence against children in partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF. The survey conducted in 2013, for the first time, provided credible data and national estimates that show the magnitude and nature of violence against children across the country. In response to the findings of the 2013 Cambodia Violence against Children Survey (CVACS), the Royal Government of Cambodia has committed to taking actions on the issue and developed the inter-ministerial Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children 2017-2021 (Action Plan). This Action Plan is informed by INSPIRE’s principles and strategies in the formulation.
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The Action Plan can be downloaded here: https://www.unicef.org/cambodia/results_for_children_27251.html