The Child Protection Unit (CPU) has released its 2019 work results, showing that it handled 274 major crime cases against children in cooperation with the National Police, resulting in an arrest rate of 87 per cent.
“The CPU achieved an overall arrest rate of 87 per cent, something to be extremely proud of,” it stated on its Facebook page on Monday.
Last year saw the formation of the CPU Forensic Services Team (Fit) headed by Ray Kirwan, a forensics expert from Australia. It also saw the formation of Cambodia’s first Internet Crimes against Children team (ICAC).
“We were extremely pleased to see a reduction in child homicides from 33 in 2018 to 24 last year. Our homicide team investigated all child homicides under 15 years old in Cambodia,” it said.
The CPU thanked all involved in its work – from sponsors, donors, supporters, staff, the National Police and international policing partners.
CPU operations director James McCabe said he started the Child Protection Unit in 2013 in partnership with the Cambodian Children’s Fund and the National Police.
“The goal of the Child Protection Unit and my motivation was to protect those that cannot protect themselves and to ensure the perpetrators that commit crimes against children were brought to justice.
“Measured in terms of our conviction rates, Cambodia’s clearance rate for serious child abuse cases surpasses many of the most advanced countries. However, working day-to-day on each of these horrific cases, every one of them has its impact and it is impossible to dehumanise,” he said.
Chou Bun Eng, the permanent vice-chair of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking, said on Thursday that the government welcomed the loyal effort and cooperation of all groups like CPU.
Cracking down on child abuses, he said, is a government priority.
“There are many factors such as online [access] that make children more vulnerable. The government cannot do this work alone and needs participation from people and civil society every step of the way,” she said.
Bun Eng said she is open to other groups like CPU joining the fight against child violence and abuse, especially murders.