16 members of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) have been awarded commendation certificates by Sar Kheng, vice president of the CPP in his former capacity as Minister of the Interior, for their work protecting the country’s children over the last 10 years.
The certificates commend each individual for their commitment and dedication to protecting Cambodia’s vulnerable children from abuse and exploitation, advancing the care and treatment of child victims and investigating crimes committed against children across the Kingdom.
In its 10th year, the unit is now recognized as the leader in investigating serious crimes committed against children in Cambodia and providing specialist care and support for victims and their families.
The commendations from His Excellency Sar Kheng were awarded to the original 16 members of the CPU who are celebrating 10 years of service.
I am incredibly proud of the CPU team and humbled by the recognition and commendation from the Cambodian Government
“I am very proud of the achievements of the CPU and the impact we have had on so many children and their families over the past 10 years. There have been some incredible results, not just in arrests and convictions but the lives that have been saved and repaired. I am incredibly proud of the CPU team and humbled by the recognition and commendation from the Cambodian Government,” said James McCabe, CPU’s Director of Operations.
Set up in 2013, the CPU is a unique collaboration between NGO Cambodian Children's Fund (CCF) and the Cambodian National Police to investigate all serious crimes against children in Cambodia and Southeast Asia and bring offenders to justice.
It now has four major departments: the Homicide Investigation Team (HIT), Forensic Services Team (FST), Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC), and the Office of Victim and Family Services (OVFS).
In its 10th year, the unit is more in demand than ever, dealing with 269 cases this year, compared to 242 in 2022
“I want to thank everyone who has lived this dream and traveled this journey that we started together
Covering all 25 provinces across Cambodia, the dedicated unit has experienced police, investigators, forensic experts, and aftercare specialists to tackle major crimes against children in Cambodia, including homicide, sexual assault, and trafficking.
Two years ago, it formed the first specialist unit in Cambodia to tackle the growing threat of cyber crimes against children, from online grooming to the distribution of child pornography. It has since investigated 118 investigations into internet crimes against children.
The CPU’s work has seen a sixfold increase in conviction rates from crimes against children, up to 86% in 2018.
In 10 years, it has investigated more than 300 child homicides.
“I want to thank everyone who has lived this dream and traveled this journey that we started together,” said James McCabe.
“In particular, I want to thank Scott Neeson [Founder of Cambodian Children’s Fund] for without his trust, faith, loyalty, and encouragement in the concept, it would never have started or been able to achieve the many milestones, successes, and achievements, or been able to save countless children.”
The CPU also supports the Cambodian National Police with training and capacity building for local police officers, developing best practices for investigating serious child abuse cases.
It instigated the first-ever training for women police officers in Cambodia in interviewing child victims of sexual violence. It ran the same course last month (August) for the CNP and CPU’s female child protection officers.
It's a remarkable team producing remarkable results
Two new training courses were held in Cambodia in June for the first time: Major Road Collision Investigations and Arson and Explosive Serious Crime Investigations.
Scott Neeson, CCF Founder and Executive Director, said: “While the CPU operates as part of CCF, the vision was Jim McCabe’s, and subsequently, the implementation and operations have been led by him. It’s a remarkable team producing remarkable results.”