Cambodia is the first country to undertake and launch the VACS in Southeast Asia. The VACS findings, along with key government commitments, were presented at a national launch on October 22, 2014 and included high-level representation from all involved ministries.. Participants included the Deputy Prime Minister, Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative for the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, and many more key leaders.

The findings highlight:

  • 53 percent of females and 54 percent of males aged 18 to 24 reported experiencing physical violence before age 18. Violence rarely occurred only one time; more than 4 out of 5 reported multiple incidents before age 18.
  • Boys and girls reported similar rates of sexual abuse; 4 percent of females and more than 5 percent of males reported sexual abuse before the age of 18. As with physical violence, the majority of children reported multiple incidents.
  • Only 50 percent of females and 21 percent of males who reported experiencing childhood sexual abuse told anyone, and only 39 percent of females and 6 percent of males sought help.
  • The average age of the first incident of sexual abuse was 15 for girls and 10 for boys.
  • Having multiple sexual partners in the past 12 months was significantly higher among males aged 19-24 who reported childhood physical violence (15 percent) than males who reported no history of physical violence (3 percent).

Economic Burden of Violence Against Children Report:

In December 2015, Cambodia released the “Economic Burden of the Health Consequences of Violence Against Children’ report, which focuses on understanding the consequences of childhood violence and the economic costs incurred by Cambodia at large. The study shows that Cambodia lost at least US $168 million in 2013, or 1.1 percent of its GDP, as a result of the negative impact of some of the health consequences caused by violence against children. It also shows that loss of productivity attributed to childhood violence in 2013 totaled US$ 83.3 million, accounting for 0.55 percent of the country’s GDP. The study findings emphasize the need for investment to strengthen the national child protection system as well as budget allocations and investments in the prevention of and response to violence against children.


The Government of Cambodia has made a number of commitments in response to the data. These will form the basis of a costed, national multi-sectoral action plan to prevent and respond to violence against children in Cambodia

The country’s commitments span across sectors, with gender-sensitive strategies integrated into sectoral goals, cross-ministry coordination, and attention to the participation of children. Examples of commitments include:

  • Developing, implementing and enforcing a Child Protection Code of Conduct for Judicial Police Agents, increasing the number of Judicial Police Agents at the district level and increasing their capacity and skills on counselling and case management for responding to violence against children.
  • Investment by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation in the social and child welfare system at the national and sub-national levels, and the creation of a gender-sensitive child abuse complaint and reporting mechanism.
  • Integration of positive parenting and positive fatherhood strategies into early childhood care and development guidelines for parent and caregiver education
  • Make child-friendly services available at administrative police stations, and ensure the Cambodian National Police’ Professional Code of Ethics includes child protection standards
  • The National AIDS Authority will mainstream and integrate zero tolerance of violence against children into the national Three Zeroes strategy to respond to HIV and AIDS.In addition to their work on designing and implementing national actions as part of the VACS process, Cambodia is one of the focus countries for the United States Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity, and is also working to align data and actions on gender-based violence and violence against children.


Members of the Cambodia VACS Steering Committee: Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA); Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY); National Institute of Statistics of the Ministry of Planning (NIS/MoP); Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Tourism; Ministry of Interior; Ministry of Justice; Cambodian National Council for Children; National AIDS Authority; Ministry of Cults and Religion; Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training; Ministry of Information; UNICEF Cambodia

Non-Government: Social Services of Cambodia; First Step Cambodia; Save the Children; Plan International; World Vision; Friends International

Bilateral/Multilateral Organizations: Government of Canada, UNICEF EAPRO; UN Women/Partners for Prevention; UNDP; UNFPA; CDC; WHO; UNAIDS; USAID


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