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Family members involved in one-third of rape cases in Cambodia: Report

Victims of sexual assault from a family member face an uphill battle for justice, an NGO said.

• December 10, 2020
Rape photo used to illustrate this story (Photo Credit: Guardian Nigeria

Rape within families is widespread in Cambodia with the largely underage victims regularly failed by the legal system, new research has found.

The report was released on Thursday by an NGO, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (LICADHO).

It stated that nearly a third of rape or attempted rape cases that it investigated involved either a blood relative or in-law of the victim.

Analysing all of the 446 cases it probed between 2017 and 2019, the NGO found that some 80 percent were children under 18.

Victims of sexual assault from a family member face an uphill battle for justice, said LICADHO Deputy Director of monitoring Am Sam Ath.

“The harms of family rape are well known, but there is still not enough being done to make sure that perpetrators are held accountable,’’ he said.

Out of the 137 cases involving a relative, only 53 percent resulted in a conviction that led to the perpetrator serving an appropriate prison sentence.

Some 19 percent resulted in a light conviction, a short sentence and, or the perpetrator being convicted in absentia without an arrest.

While other cases remain in limbo, many victims were unable to come forward, the group said.

“The long-standing and persistent barriers to justice for people who are raped in Cambodia are compounded for women and girls who are raped by a relative.

“These individuals face additional barriers of family pressure to ignore sexual violence, and often rely financially on the perpetrator,’’ the authors wrote.

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