Grantees working together for women survivors of violence living with disabilities: Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre and ADD International

Date: Thursday, January 23, 2020

Community volunteer to end violence against women with disabilities. Photo: UN Trust Fund
Panha, a community partner working with ADD International to end violence against women and girls living with disabilities. Photo: Adina Wolf/UN Trust Fund/UN Women

“I live with more hope. I experience less violence and more respect”, said Chann*, a woman survivor of violence living with a disability in Cambodia. She received targeted services from the Cambodia Women’s Crisis Centre (CWCC), a grantee of the UN Trust Fund. Together with ADD International, also a grantee of the UN Trust Fund, these organizations are working towards a future free from violence for women and girls with disabilities.

In Cambodia, 24 per cent of women living with disabilities report experiencing sexual violence by an intimate partner, as compared to 17 per cent of women without disabilities.[1] In addition, women living with disabilities are more likely to experience violence by a household member.[2] CWCC provides services and access to justice for women and girl survivors of violence in Cambodia, and together with their partner organization, ADD International, the two organizations are striving to better serve women survivors of violence with disabilities. Working in close collaboration, these organizations are strengthening service provision for survivors and preventing violence against women living with disabilities in Cambodia.

CWCC and ADD International aspire to ensure that support services for women survivors of violence are accessible and inclusive. “We learned to make services more responsive. […] We have the ability for our work to be linked and be more connected, in the past we did work in our own field”, said Chea Thira, Regional Manager at CWCC. This sharing of expertise includes both ADD International supporting CWCC in better servicing women with disabilities and in CWCC supporting ADD International in their efforts to prevent violence against women and girls in families and communities, specifically by caregivers or household members.

ADD International’s project funded by the UN Trust Fund focuses on preventing violence against women and girls living with disabilities, and especially those in remote communities. Panha, a community partner working with ADD International said, “without prevention, violence will spread like cancer […] I learned about disability and violence against women as a community issue. If we don’t join together it will spread and carry on to the next generation.” The project is also strengthening the capacity of women-led organizations serving women living with disabilities and is training women and girls with disabilities to be volunteers and take an active role in project implementation. The project has already trained 85 village volunteers and leaders of women-led disabled persons organizations (DPOs) to identify forms of violence against women.

ADD International’s volunteers identified a family with a young girl survivor of sexual violence who lives with an intellectual disability. Through ADD International’s identification, and CWCC’s counseling and facilitation of justice, Soueong* now knows her rights and her case is proceeding through the courts. She said, “ I have 4 rights – the right to development, right to protection, participation, and right to be a survivor”.

[1]https://www.kh.undp.org/content/dam/cambodia/docs/DemoGov/NearyRattanak4/Neary%20Rattanak%204%20-%20Violence%20against%20Women%20and%20Girls_Eng.pdf

[2] Ibid.