The NGO Child Protection Unit (CPU) has unveiled plans to build a new centre by the end of 2023 at a cost of A$20 million (nearly $15 million) to help children affected by sexual abuse, which will be equipped with various technical facilities to catch suspects more efficiently.

CPU director of operations James McCabe announced the project at a meeting with deputy National Police chief Yok Sokha late last week to present the unit’s annual report and its five-year plan to increase services and treatment for victims of sexual abuse as well as its investigative capacity.

The meeting aimed to strengthen the cooperation between the CPU and the National Police in the training of officers as well as the investigation and crackdown on crimes against children.

The CPU said in a recent report that the construction of this centre will locate along National Road 2. It will include a number of facilities for staff and victims, including a training room, workshop area, victim care room, legal counselling room, and forensic examination, psychology and information rooms.

It will also benefit from a direct line with municipal and provincial police, with dedicated officers on site 24 hours a day.

McCabe said the project was scheduled to be completed in late 2024, but that sections of the centre could be operational by the end of 2023.

The new CPU centre is the first of its kind in Cambodia, McCabe said, and it “shows the international community the government of Cambodia’s commitment to the people, especially in the case of child victims, for the next 10 years”.

Sokha expressed her support for the project, saying the centre would help child victims “in time” and have the necessary tools to find evidence and charge suspects. She praised the “good cooperation” between the CNP and the CPU.

The CPU congratulated the government and the National Police for their “excellent” work in 2021 and praised them for their “continued cooperation” in the investigation of crimes against children. It said that their achievement of an overall arrest rate of 85 per cent on 313 cases was a “fantastic” result and an “indication of [their] commitment and dedication to combating crimes against children”.

“Some outstanding work and investigations were carried out in 2021 with amazing results. The CPU looks forward to continuing the working relationship with the CNP to achieve great results,” said McCabe.

He told The Post that the CPU will hold a press conference on the upcoming construction of the centre.