Cambodia: Bringing the Rights of Voiceless Women into the Political Agenda

According to a national survey commissioned by the UN and DFAT, 32 percent of ever-partnered Cambodian women aged 15-64 experience emotional abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetime; while 21 percent face physical and/or sexual violence. Another UN survey found that half of the perpetrators of sexual violence never face legal consequences.

The work of the Access to Justice for Women (ATJW) program to Ending Violence Against Women and Girls was frequently featured in local and international media and high-level forums. ATJW is largely funded by Germany, through BMZ. Since 2014, the Australian DFAT co-finances the ATJW II program, while the Spanish AECID co-financed it from 2010 to 2013.

The ATJW program established a Fund for female victims of intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence led by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia and implemented by 4 NGOs in two target provinces. From January 2012 to June 2015, 6,080 women and girls survivors of gender-based violence and their children received services by this Fund, which comprised legal advice and representation, shelter, individual and group psychological counseling, medical care, and vocational training for reintegration. In cooperation with national and local institutions, 129 Judicial Police Agents were deployed and trained by the ATJW program across Cambodia, who -under the Domestic Violence Law- provide legal support and referral services to women victims of intimate partner violence and their children. In addition, gender-responsiveness and quality of services were improved through development and implementation of minimum standards in key areas of intervention, such as legal protection, basic counseling and referrals. Coordination mechanisms were established at provincial and district levels to enhance case management and referrals of victims amongst service providers. The ATJW program closely supported the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to develop the Second National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women (2014-2018) and to include disadvantaged groups of women and girls in other national gender policies. For the first time ever, the protection of the rights of LGBT people and of women survivors of gender-based violence during the Khmer Rouge regime were incorporated in Cambodian policies. Organizational development of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and improvement of its external communications have been also the focus of the ATJW program. One coordination desk was established at the Ministry in order to enhance institutional advocacy across Government; a network formed by 79 young professionals was created and is supported; training opportunities and development of guidelines in the field of communications were provided, partly in partnership with Deutsche Welle Akademie. As a result, the Ministry’s messaging in public statements, social media and communications campaigns is more articulated, progressive and aligned with the women’s human rights framework.


Dr. Dagmar Baer
Access to Justice for Women II Program
Ministry of Women’s Affairs

The competition entry ”Bringing the Rights of Voiceless Women into the Political Agenda” from GIZ Cambodia can be downloaded here:

48 Cambodia: Bringing the Rights of Voiceless Women into the Political Agenda_Gender Competition 2016

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