The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation and relevant institutions is planning the formal launch of a guidebook which standardises child protection measures.

The guide will provide operating procedures for town and district authorities, as well as civil society organisations, so they can provide safe, effective services to children.

The ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, recently held a consultative workshop with several relevant institutions and organisations to gather final inputs. A formal launch of the guidelines will be announced in the near future.

Phi No, director of the social affairs ministry’s Child Welfare Department, explained last week that the instruction book aims to strengthen and standardise overall child protection systems. At present, civil society organisations working with children have different child protection systems from the ministry.

He added that the guidelines had been drafted in consultation with several different institutions and partner organisations, and that local authorities and civil society organisations will implement the instructions together.

“This book lays out clear, responsible and responsive mechanisms and procedures. The preparations of the guide are based on government policy that is associated with decentralised sub-national administrations.

This means officials at the sub-national level will play a key role in responding and providing services to children who are vulnerable to abuse,” he continued. 

He noted that it will make local authorities more aware of their precise roles, although if a case is beyond their competence, they may refer it to provincial authorities.

The book not only provides child protection guidelines, but outlines access to appropriate services that align with existing sub-national administrations.

“When something bad happens to children, it is important that the police and local authorities intervene. However, it is also important that this is done in cooperation with specialised partner organisations so that children receive all of the support services they need,” he said.

Am Sam Ath, operations director at rights group LICADHO, believed the new guidelines will allow sub-national authorities and civil society organisations to work together to help protect and save vulnerable children. 

“These guidelines are important, but what matters the most is that all child protection laws are implemented effectively. We need to work together to ensure this happens, and save all child victims of abuse,” he said.

He added that the book will be extremely useful, as it will ensure all sub-national administrations clearly understand their roles and responsibilities, and looked forward to the formal launch of the guide.