Feature Article: Child-Centric Standard & Procedure for the Protection of Child Victim of Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation
Phnom Penh – Child-centric standards & procedures are a very important tool to increase the protection of the rights of children who have suffered from sexual abuse and exploitation. APLE has been working with child victims for fifteen years, and understands well about their needs, difficulties and obstacles that they encounter during the investigation and court proceeding processes. The victims suffer great impact on their physical and psychological health from the abuse. Furthermore, various social problems can emerge if professional treatment is not provided. At the same time, the participation of the victim in the investigation and the court proceeding to seek justice is a traumatic experience which requires support.
Cambodia has legal instruments to fight against child sexual abuse and exploitation such as Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, the minimum standard for the protection of the victim and the guideline on the identification of the victims. However, there is no specific legal procedure or guideline for working with the victim and witnesses from beginning to end which cares for the protection of the victims in the future. In the court process, the protection of the victim’s rights has not been well implemented; nonetheless, the child-friendly interview principle is being increasingly adopted.
APLE’s role is helping to motivate and encourage national law enforcement personnel to become increasingly child-centered, which is extremely important during the course of their investigation, especially during interviews with the child victim.
Experience tell us that some victims change their statement at the court stage but if the national enforcement agencies implement the child-friendly interview model, the victims will gain more confidence. It is important to work patiently with the victims, who are often children who live on the street and who have different attitudes compared with those with often more structured lives. APLE is currently working on a guideline to allow standards of practices among national law enforcement agencies dealing with sexual abuse crime, especially when involving minor age victims.
Here are some of the identifiable advantages of the child-centric procedures which could add value to police investigation: gain trust from the survivor, obtain reliable information/statement, children are less traumatized/depressed, no more harm, faster recovery, save time in the legal proceeding, no contra-accusation against the law enforcement, more prosecution/conviction of offenders both nationally & internationally, and justice for the survivor.
Your participation really matters……Please join us to further protect all children by reporting suspicious activity and take positive action to protect them.