Erin Handley, The Phnom Penh Post
Thu, 2 June 2016
Child rights groups banded together on International Children’s Day yesterday to call on the government to fund stronger committees to combat violence against children at the commune level, saying structural failures put children at risk of abuse.
Citing a study compiled in March this year, World Vision, Save the Children and the Cambodian Children’s Fund lobbied the government to improve Commune Committees for Women and Children (CCWCs), which were established in 2007 to connect people in need to health, school and social services.
One major problem, said World Vision Cambodia advocacy manager Steve Cooke, was that too often these committees were compelled to go beyond their capacity and step into the shoes of social workers, when they lacked the skills and government support to do so.
“Social workers are a limited resource in Cambodia, and violence against children is extremely prevalent. Put those things together and the demand for the service is higher than the supply,” he said.
“The CCWCs are stuck in the middle. They feel pressure to respond to those issues in the community.”
Other failings the study unearthed was a misunderstanding about the various forms of sexual abuse a child might suffer – not just rape – and an over-reliance on putting children who had suffered abuse into residential care. (more…)