Civil society groups are urging authorities to aggressively enforce the law against criminals who commit violence against women and children and designate a safe zone in each community to protect young people.
Plan International and eight allies, including the Asean Children Foundation Thailand (CFT), the Lanna Children Rights Coalition (LCRC) and the Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia), on Saturday organised "The Power of Children, Youth and Women -- 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence" event to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Woman.
Sudawadee Limpaibul, Programme Innovation and Impact Director of Plan International, said women and children are the main victims of violence committed by other family members.
One-third of Thai women are victims of the violence, she said. They encounter violence that stems from inequity in society, gender bias cultivated by culture and the notion that women should bear the blame for poor marital relations.
Ms Sudawadee said that aside from physical violence, young people, including children, also face harsh words. They need a safe space to feel secure enough to freely express their thoughts and opinions without fear.
"Having a safe zone is important to them. We have worked with many children and found they are afraid of violence, especially LGBTQ children whose families are not happy with who they are," she said.
The Pareena Foundation said that last year it had received 6,745 complaints of violence, with 944 involving sexual assault or harassment. A total of 381 victims were girls aged 10 to 15 years old, and the wrongdoers were generally family members.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also found that last year over 45,000 children and women around the world had been killed by family members, the foundation said.
Amara Pongsapit, Thai representative to the Asean Commission on Human Rights, said Thailand has promoted the rights of women and children. The issue was highlighted in the Asean Convention on Human Trafficking to protect women and children against criminals, she said.
Asean also has been moving forward by increasing its capacity to protect women and children, especially online. Going forward, Asean will draft guidelines to protect them on digital platforms, she said. Singapore will host a meeting on the matter next year, she said.