Child Helpline Cambodia’s social workers have conducted more than 700 counselling sessions on domestic violence, physical abuse and child sex abuse via the telephone in 2022 through July of this year. Fifteen cases were determined to require immediate intervention and were reported to police and local authorities, according to Thoun Sreypov, the NGO's counselling supervisor.
Sreypov said that it was mostly girls between the ages of eight and 18 who called the helpline for counselling, as well as women who are victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and psychological abuse between the ages of 18 and 25.
“The children who call in are mostly suffering from physical violence and sexual abuse. Separately, if we look at adults, they are most often suffering from domestic violence or physical violence,” she said.
She added that in the more than 700 counselling sessions the social workers who answer the calls try to help the callers by emphasising their bravery and empowering and motivating them to report what is taking place to their local authorities.
"Whereas with the other 15 cases they were not in a position where they could help themselves and they needed immediate help, which required our group to send information to police so they could intervene," she said.
The counselling supervisor added that in all cases, Child Helpline Cambodia’s officials have worked with local authorities and partner organizations to provide support services to meet the victim's needs.
She said that once they are alerted to the problems taking place the local authorities have been actively involved in intervening in them to address violence against women and girls and their responses have been timely and effective and kept victims safe.
She said that the problem was that many victims were still afraid to go directly to authorities or too afraid to even call their helpline, especially women and girls who face sexual violence and psychological abuse.
Child Helpline Cambodia has partnered with the government and telecommunications service providers to create a special number, 1280, that is toll-free and staffed 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Anyone who is suffering from abuse and is in need of assistance can call and get advice about their problems confidentially.
"They can text 1280 or leave a short voice message with their call-back number to seek counselling or to report any violence, abuse or trauma that is taking place. Please be brave and end the silence and hiding these problems. Child Helpline Cambodia is always there to listen and support you,” she said.
Roka commune police chief Soeung Them of Battambang province’s Sangke district told The Post on July 13 that according to his observations, in his area there were not many cases of domestic violence – only one or two per month. Sometimes they reported it via phone and sometimes in person directly to the police administration.
“Once they report it to us, we go immediately to the scene. If the argument is not that serious, just a little fight or mostly a verbal argument then we educate them or ask them to sign contracts pledging not to do it in the future,” he said.