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March Newsletter
Issue #3, 2015

Siem Reap temple— children participating in group counselling designed to foster new friendships, have fun, and share hopes for the future

Social Support Program

Court Support project

Our social workers provide immediate psychological, emotional and physical support to those affected to reduce the emotional impact and possible trauma associated with the crime, investigations and ongoing legal process... Learn More

Group Counselling, New Way of Working 

APLE’s social work team is trying something new! In order to strengthen our work with victims and help them heal, we conducted our first group counselling activity in March. 10 children, who are recovering from abuse, joined our social workers on a trip to see the temples in Siem Reap. During the visit, the children participated in activities designed to foster new friendships, have fun, and share hopes for the future.
The children had a great time and expressed their happiness with meeting other children who are going through similar experiences as them.  The children also look forward to setting life goals and visiting new places in the future. Our social workers are excited by the positive results and cannot wait to conduct more group counselling sessions.

Social support program in number:
  • 186 follow-up meetings with clients this month (including victims, vulnerable children, family members and witnesses)
  • 6 victims got access to medical examination
  • 64 referrals facilitated to residential care

Background Checks Required for Those Working with Children  

Institution-based child sexual abuse and exploitation is one of APLE’s main concerns, particularly as increasing cases have come to light in the past year. Weak child protection mechanisms, such as background checks, within schools, NGOs, or orphanages leave the children vulnerable to a variety of harms. 
To help minimise the risk to children and bolster prevention of abuse, the FBI agent joined by APLE staff taught 16 childcare institutions the importance of requiring background checks for any individual who wants to work or has been working with children. 24 management staff from 8 schools and 8 NGOs running shelters attended.
During the meeting, the FBI agent demonstrated how to check if an American citizen has been involved in crimes related to child sexual abuse. The participants learned this process and can conduct it themselves in the future. The FBI agent encouraged the institutions to take action and report any suspicions in order to enhance protection for children.
The participants are happy with the new knowledge and skills, which enables them to make their institutions safer for children in the future.

Investigations program in number:
  • 21 reports received through hotline, email and staff
  • 33 investigation cases investigated and followed up
  • 3 new informants established

'Protecting Local Communities' Dialogue

It has now been one year since APLE started a pilot project in Battambang. To assess the situation now and explore more opportunities in the future, APLE cooperated with the Governor of Battambang Province to organise a dialogue on ‘Protecting Local Communities from Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation’. The participants joined to engage in a lively discussion.

Awareness/training program in number:
  • 49 (F:19) participants including youth, government officers, NGOs and local authorities attended.
  • 21 (F:4) participants attended a half-day training session on child protection and safeguarding.

Girls Spoke in Court Confidently

In an ongoing trial, four girls and two mothers attended court trial to testify against their abuser for the final time. The trial began in 2014, when the suspect was charged with committing indecent acts against minor under 15 years and purchasing child prostitution. The suspect tried to deny the crimes, but the statements provided by the victims and their family members were clear. The judge is now deliberating and will announce the verdict on 20 April 2015.

Legal support program in number:
  • 49 victims and family members received follow-up legal counseling and support
  • 25 victims and 18 families represented in courts
APLE is not a government entity and thus relies heavily on corporate and individual donations. APLE fights for justice for child victims of the sexual abuse and exploitation. We can’t make this happen without your generous support.
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