Child Protection Unit Opens

Nov. 26, 2013 – The Child Protection Unit, an innovative organization combating child abuse and exploitation in Cambodia, opened its doors last week with a ceremony attended by staff and supporters.

The CPU is a joint operation with national police in five provinces at the moment, including Phnom Penh. The mission is to ensure that abusers are brought to justice and that victims are cared for without further trauma from their ordeals.

“This is outside of what Cambodian Children’s Fund typically does, but it’s impossible to ignore the reality of widespread abuse in the country,” said Scott Neeson, founder and executive director of Cambodian Children’s Fund.

With resources often limited at police departments, the CPU provides much-needed services that ensure child abusers are stopped.

Since the CPU’s soft launch in July, the Cambodian police have arrested several dozen offenders with assistance from the CPU. Training sessions have been held with police departments, with more planned in 2014. Some of the skills taught include case management, the usage of forensics and more. With a half-dozen officers seconded from Cambodian police forces to help fulfill the CPU’s mission of arresting offenders and keeping victims safe.

To help recovering victims, the CPU completely renovated the Phnom Penh Municipal Referral Hospital that victims of sexual abuse are sent to. A child-friendly interview room that keeps the victim away from the perpetrators was also built to lessen the burden of the child.

One of the key backers has been Paul Blackburne, who attended the ceremony from Australia with his parents. At the ceremony, he thanked all the staff for their tremendous efforts

Photo caption: CPU signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Interior in July.

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