Child Helpline Cambodia operates in Cambodia and our head office is in Phnom Penh. We are a registered non-government organization (NGO) with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior, registration # 951SCHN. Our administration team can be contacted on (+855) 23 224 841.
Children and youth in Cambodia grow up free from violence, abuse and exploitation within a comprehensive child protection system and are able to fully realize their rights and potential.
Promote child rights and build opportunities for the protection of children and youth through the provision of professional phone counseling, information service and referral and follow up service with appropriate partners.
What We Do
Child Helpline Cambodia provides free, 24 hour phone counseling, information, referral and follow-up services for children and youth up to 25 years old in Cambodia. We allow children and young people to reach out when they need it, in real time and speak directly with someone in a safe and confidential environment via the free 1280 helpline, here on the website as well as through text messages to 1280.
We view every contact with a child or young person as important, and depending on the need, our phone counselors will either provide emotional support or information to empower clients to make decisions for themselves, or refer the clients to the appropriate partner organization to receive direct services such as food, shelter, medical care or legal advice. You can read more about our referral process and partners here.
Where We Do It
Our call center and office is based in Phnom Penh and our helpline services are available all across Cambodia.
Child Helpline Cambodia receives over 2,000 calls and 200 text messages each month. Some of these calls and text messages require counseling support, others are information requests, while others require referral and follow-up. Some calls are also what we call test calls.
A percentage of calls received by Child Helpline Cambodia are silent calls, testing calls or hang ups. A silent call may be a young person building up the courage to talk. A hang-up may be a child who is trying to talk but is just not ready yet. A testing call may be a young person who doesn’t know if they can trust us. We treat each call as important regardless of the situation so that we demonstrate that we will be available when a young person needs us, we will be available for the young people who do feel ready to talk, and we will take action to protect children and young people when required.
Our Commitment to Child Protection
The protection and empowerment of children and young people lies at the heart of Child Helpline Cambodia’s purpose. We believe that all children and young people have a right to protection from abuse irrespective of race, ethnicity, social background, age, gender, skin color, disability, religion or beliefs. We are dedicated to the protection and empowerment of children and their rights and believe that child abuse and exploitation in any form is wrong. Keeping silent is wrong and if it is known that a child is being abused or exploited action should be taken.
All paid staff, members of the board and phone counseling volunteers must agree to read and sign our Child Protection Policy and failure to comply will result in instant dismissal. Full time and volunteer phone counselors also receive a police criminal check. We assess official referral partner organizations very closely before entering into partnership with them and monitor cases closely. We take any concerning feedback about any referral organization is taken very seriously. Approved visitors to our administration center are always chaperoned by an authorized member of staff and will not have direct contact with clients or our case management system.
Child Helpline Cambodia is committed to upholding the laws of Cambodia. We will not hire anyone under the age of 18 and we strive to reinforce the articles stipulated in the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. Specifically, we will not publicize any information divulging the identity or location of any children who are victims under this law (Article 49). We are also committed to upholding international and national laws regarding child rights and welfare. This includes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which was adopted by the Cambodian Government in 1992, and all Cambodian laws pertaining to children and young people in the areas of abuse and exploitation.
Our Commitment to Child Empowerment
Child Helpline Cambodia believes that children and young people have the right to speak and be heard. Callers choose to tell us what they want to tell us and are encouraged to control the conversation. We provide our clients with information, options and open communication so they can make decisions for themselves.
Clients are welcome to provide feedback on our services or make a complaint by calling the free 1280 helpline, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or sending a text message to 1280.
Where possible, children and young people are also included as our stakeholders, in research, and in relevant reports and evaluations. We are also planning a youth ambassadors panel to help us with peer-to-peer promotion and our internal decision making as well as to build leadership and presentation skills with the participants.
What Makes Us Different to Direct Services
Child Helpline Cambodia is the only free, 24 hour, child friendly, confidential long term emotional support, information, referral and follow-up service open to children and youth suffering from the full spectrum of problems. We can help many children and young people because we are free and available anywhere in Cambodia as long as the person calling has access to a phone. The phone counseling services also provide our clients with anonymity. We can link children and young people with direct services as required and can continue to provide emotional support.
Our free phone counseling system, complimented by cooperation with the local authorities and referral partnerships with direct services makes Child Helpline Cambodia’s model accessible, efficient and sustainable.
What Makes Our Helpline Different to Hotlines
There are many hotlines in operation in Cambodia addressing a range of situations that require technical skills (such as legal or medical advice) and immediate intervention in the community. Sometimes hotline services also have call costs.
Child Helpline Cambodia is different because it’s free to call, child friendly, and is primarily a long term emotional support service. We also have people who are especially trained to talk with children and young people on the phone, and a comprehensive case management system and database. We empower our clients to make decisions for themselves by providing them with information and helping them identify and reflect on their options. We only intervene or break confidentiality when our clients ask us to on their behalf, when there is an emergency, if someone’s life is at risk or if we believe a law has been broken, and we will talk to the client about this first.
We work with the hotlines to help explain our different roles and services to the community.
Child Helpline Cambodia offers services to children and youth up to 25 years old. We include young people aged between 18 and 25 as this age group has shown to be vulnerable to similar problems as children, but are often excluded from services that could assist them. The majority of calls come from people aged 6 to 17 years old.
Adults can also call us if they are concerned for a child or young person.
Our Referral Partners
Child Helpline Cambodia’s official referral partners are from a broad range of direct service providers that include specialist agencies in domestic violence, trafficking, child protection, sexual and reproductive health, suicide, grief, sexual orientation, HIV and AIDS, drug use, relationships, body change and disability based in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk. We hope to expand our referral network to other provinces soon. We also work in cooperation with the local authorities. Read more about our referral process and partners here.
Initiated by a group of United Nations and non-government organizations (local and international NGOs) committed to protecting the rights of children and youth in Cambodia, Child Helpline Cambodia was established in October 2009 after a need assessment identified that children and young people would use a free, helpline service to discuss problems. After securing the free helpline – 1280 – from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, we formally launched in August 2010.
We are an independent national non government organization (NGO) officially registered with the Ministry of Interior on 12 July 2012. In September 2011, we achieved full membership with Child Helpline International and joined a global network of over 150 child and youth helplines. Helplines operating in countries around the world have laid a foundation for strong child protection systems and continue to play a vital role in promoting the rights of children. Child Helpline Cambodia is the first of its kind in Cambodia and after establishing a free helpline and free access from all mobile and landline telecommunications companies, we completed our pilot phase in March 2011.
Our program focuses on a wide range of children’s rights as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, but specifically for children’s rights to be heard and for each young person to be able to freely express their views (Article 12), children’s rights to freedom of expression (Article 13), children’s rights to appropriate information (Article 17), and the whole range of protection rights, best encapsulated in Article 19. Our program works to this mandate and aims to support any child or youth who calls in, is threatened by or experiencing the most serious forms of abuse, and needs either someone to talk to or a referral to appropriate services.