Phi No Child Welfare Department Addresses Child Abuse and Family Divisions

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The Strong Family Campaign is a collaboration between the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Affairs, UNICEF and other NGO partners including Friends International, Save the Children, Plan International, Child Fund, World Vision, APLE , Cambodian Children’s Trust, M’Lup Russey and Child Helpline Cambodia. The Post caught up with Phi No, director of the child protection department at the Ministry of Social Affairs, to find out more about the campaign.

What is the Strong Family campaign? What is its general objective?

Violence is a major concern and has a long-term negative effect on the well-being and development of children in various aspects related to their mental and physical behavior in adolescence and adulthood.

The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans Affairs and Youth Rehabilitation has developed and implemented action plans to improve childcare and reintegrate 30% of children from the daycare into their families safely.

Some studies have shown that placing children in day care centers that do not adhere to government policies, standards and laws can put these children at risk of abuse, exploitation and neglect, which can have serious negative effects on child development.

Thus, the Strong Family Campaign was created to address the social and cultural issues that perpetuate child abuse and to ensure that child care centers are places that offer many benefits to children.

The campaign also aims to raise awareness about the prevention and elimination of violence against children and to prevent unnecessary separations of children from their families, as well as to make people understand that an environment safe family is the best place for children to grow and develop.

The Strong Family Campaign shows the Royal Government’s strong commitment to ending violence against children and joining our global partners to end violence against children as part of the ongoing global movement to end violence against children. violence against children (GPEVAC).

When did the campaign start and which parties participated in it?

The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans Affairs and Youth Rehabilitation launched the Strong Family Campaign to end violence against children and end the separation of children from their families in Cambodia on February 19, 2020 as first national awareness campaign on this subject.

This campaign benefits from the participation of relevant ministries, institutions and partner organizations with the common goal of eliminating all violence against children. This campaign is another positive step in Cambodia’s efforts to end all forms of violence against children and the unnecessary separation of children from their families.

Where is the campaign taking place? How many target groups or citizens are involved?

The awareness aspect of the campaign has spread across the country through mass media including television, radio, social media and direct outreach to communities.

There are six main target areas: the provinces and cities of Phnom Penh, Kandal, Sihanoukville, Battambang, Siem Reap and Ratanakkiri, and it will continue to expand to other provinces.

All educational messages aim to show that Cambodia will absolutely not tolerate violence against children and that we must prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their families anywhere in Cambodia.

The main target groups are children, parents, guardians, child care providers and the community at large, so that they can prevent and respond to any violence against children that they witness.

What results have been achieved by this campaign so far?

We produced a number of educational programs which aired on CTN and MyTV from February to April 2020 and May to April 2021. We also produced a number of programs which aired on three radio stations at the national scale and in the target provinces of Siem Reap. , Battambang, Sihanoukville and Kandal.

We produced five radio dramas with a total of 25 episodes which were broadcast live on Tonle 102.5 FM and are re-broadcast on six targeted capital provincial radio stations.

In addition, we disseminated text messages (SMS) by mobile phone from March to April 2020 in the targeted capital provinces via Smart mobile and Cellcard and we produced short educational video clips on child abuse prevention that have been uploaded and we have also produced short videos featuring influential people such as monks, for example Venerable Kou Sopheap.

Through social media like Facebook and broadcast channels like radio and TV, we estimate that from its inception to date, the Strong Family campaign has reached approximately 10 million people.

However, due to the spread of Covid-19, the dissemination of the Strong Family Campaign within the communities has been slowed down, but we have done trainings at the sub-national level in Siem Reap, Ratanakkiri, Battambang and other provinces .

At least 500 parents, guardians, caregivers and children, as well as community members, participated in the direct educational programs.

How do we define a strong family and how can we make our families stronger in the Kingdom?

The meaning of a strong family in this case is a family that helps children feel secure. A strong family offers warmth and care, has good communication and strong relationships with others outside the family. Self-care is an important part of raising a strong family.

Generally, strong families have one thing in common: warmth and affection. These are caring environments and the children receive lots of positive attention, with good relationships and a happy family atmosphere, while interacting positively with other people outside the family.

Strong families provide children with a happy and safe place where they can be themselves and discover who they are. Because children from strong families feel safe and loved, they are confident to explore their world, try new things, and learn. They are better able to cope with challenges and setbacks because they know they have the support of their family.

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