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New project to work at local level to ensure urban women have access to quality services if they exp

This morning CARE Cambodia highlighted three ways it is addressing gender-based violence in Cambodia at the launch of a new project.

Safe Homes, Safe Communities aims to reduce violence against women in communities through prevention, improved response and increased access to quality services for those affected by violence. It will work with three different groups: health centre staff, commune councils and local community members.

In health centres and referral hospitals, staff are being trained on the Ministry of Health's Clinical Handbook, which aims to standardise how health staff respond to cases of sexual or intimate partner violence. CARE has led piloting this in urban areas and aims to ensure that women are treated with sensitivity and provided with appropriate medical care should they experience violence.

CARE is also supporting commune councils to standardise how they respond when women report incidences of gender-based violence. Research has indicated that improved coordination and cooperation between local authorities and police would help responses to violence to be more effective, so CARE has developed Standard Operating Procedures for commune representatives. These include referrals to a comprehensive network of support services for women with a focus on the safety, confidentiality and dignity of women.

Within communities, women’s and men’s community groups will be trained to act as focal points. The will act as role models for their neighbours and collect information on specific cases to support women to access services they might need, such as health or legal support. These women and men will also attend commune public forums to ensure local authorities are aware of specific issues within their communities affecting the safety of women.

“CARE is excited to be part of this Ending Violence Against Women program with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Australian Government. This is a great opportunity to bring together many parts of the community for a common goal,” says CARE Cambodia Country Director Joanne Fairley. “CARE believes that all women have the right to a life free from violence. Ensuring they are treated with respect and receive the support they deserve when they do encounter violence is vital for creating communities where gender-based violence is not acceptable.”

The project is working in 19 communes across Phnom Penh, engaging with 21 health facilities, 19 commune councils and 400 community focal points. It was officially launched at an event at the Cambodiana Hotel on Wednesday 15 June 2016. The launch event was attended by Ministry officials and representatives of the National League of Commune & Sangkats, as well as commune councilors, health centre staff and community members.

Safe Homes, Safe Communities is funded by the Australian Government. It is one of a number of projects implemented by CARE Cambodia addressing sexual health rights and women’s right to a life free from violence.

For more information contact:

Jenny Conrad, Communications Advisor, CARE Cambodia

Pysal Eart, Senior Program Manager, CARE Cambodia

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