In 2005 the Cambodian Ministry of Women's Affairs commissioned a Baseline Survey on Violence Against Women. The Baseline Survey was funded by UNIFEM (CEDAW South East Asia Programme), GTZ, USAID, CIDA and East-West Management Institute (EWMI). The survey helped with understanding attitudes, knowledge and behaviour of women and men and identified strategies to prevent and address violence against women. It also gave critical insights on reaching the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals, target 8 (CMDGs), and provided a baseline for future monitoring.
The survey sampled 3000 men and women, selected to be proportional to the Cambodian population. Key findings revealed that 64% of the Cambodian population knows a husband who is violent to his wife. Nearly a quarter of Cambodian women, 22.5%, reported having experienced abuse by their husband. 58% of the population thinks that deadly violence can be acceptable in case a wife does not pay respect to her husband. Violence contributed to 16% of the sample losing around one month's income each year .
In relation to attitudes, the survey found the following:
- High levels of acceptance of violence in particular where the violence is from a husband against his wife;
- Women are more tolerant of all forms of violence than men;
- A wife challenging her husband's right to do what he pleases is seen to justify the most extreme violence;
- These attitudes are static: they are not changing, even among young people;
- Lack of law enforcement is cited as a major influence on men's behaviour.
Overall, the findings unveiled a latent acceptance of the culture of violence and highlighted alarming information about attitudes by the youth: "young men were even more likely to accept some forms of violence, particularly in urban areas". This implies that violent attitudes are not changing, but worryingly young people are internalizing attitudes responsive to the culture of violence.
The study recommended interventions in the following areas:
- Promote law enforcement to demonstrate that violence will not be tolerated;
- Highlight the impact of abuse, especially on children and the economic well-being of families;
- Promote communication, conflict resolution and non-violent parenting skills within families; and
- Redefine the role of men in the family in terms of responsibility, not power.
The survey will be repeated again in 2009 and the Ministry Planning will be invited to participate in the process.
 Baseline Survey on Violence Against Women, Final Report Cambodia 2005
 Ibid, page 85
Source of Information
Response of the Government of Cambodia to the questionnaire on violence against women