International Child Helpline Day 2018: Cambodia

Children draw ways of protecting themselves from violence

Previously, children of the Chaeb community in Preah Vihear province, Cambodia, did not have the confidence to protect themselves. When they were abused, they mostly remained silent. Now, thanks to the work of Child Helpline Cambodia, children know how to report abuse and to tell their parent or caregivers if they feel unsafe.

Ms Chum Sok at work

Youth-led awareness sessions have been helping children find ways of protecting themselves from violence against children. Ms. Chum Sok is Youth Ambassador of the End Violence Against Children project that is running in the Preah Vihear province. According to her: “Children are now talking to each other about how to keep themselves safe. Recently, two 13-year-old boys, living in Mlu Prey village in the Preah Vihear province, were approached by two male strangers in front of their secondary school. The strangers offered the boys candies. The boys did not accept the candies, and ran quickly home instead.” Another case involved a 13-year-old girl from Bos village in the same province. A male stranger wearing a mask attempted to rape her, but she was able to escape. She told her mother to report the incident to the police.

Helping children, helping families – another success story from Child Helpline Cambodia

On 14 September 2017, the stepfather of a 16-year-old girl from Chi Oak village in Preah Vihear called Child Helpline Cambodia when his daughter disappearance from her home on 31 August 2017. He said that “there was a woman visiting her at home, luring her away from the village to work for a better income”. The woman gave the girl some money to try to persuade her to leave. The girl asked her mother if she could go with the woman, but her mother was afraid that she would be sold, and refused her permission. Two days later, she disappeared.

After a few days her parents lodged a complaint with local authority in Romney commune, but there was no progress. The girl’s stepfather decided to call Child Helpline Cambodia to ask for help and intervention. Child Helpline Cambodia’s phone counsellor provided support and counseling to the girl’s parents via this telephone contact, and referred the complaint to the Child Helpline’s NGO partner for intervention. On 30 September, the complaint was lodged again with the provincial department of women’s affairs and the provincial department for anti-trafficking and juvenile protection. Following subsequent investigations, the girl was found in Siem Reap on 10 December and returned safely home.