Child Protection Policy
Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia is committed to protect children and teenagers from any action lead by any adult or by another kid that would make a kid vulnerable or a victim. Children and teenagers – in general persons under 18 years old – who receive a benefit from any project of Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia (DBFC), but also those who are not necessary inscribed in any program, but could be affected in anyway.
The Projects of DBFC, dedicated to guarantee education of poor and vulnerable children and youth, stand definitively for the protection of children’s human rights and encourage others to do so. In the Cambodian Constitution, Chapter III, there are several articles establishing the protection of children and women’s rights:
Art. 31: requires the State to recognize and respect human rights, including covenants and conventions related to human rights, women’s and children’s rights
Art. 46: requires the State and society to provide opportunities to women, so that they can get employment, medical care, and send their children to school
Art. 47: enshrines a duty of parents to care for and educate their children to become good citizens and establishes a corresponding duty for children to care for their parents in old age
Art. 48: requires the State to protect the rights of children as stipulated in the “Convention on Children”, particularly the right to life, education, protection during wartime and from economic or sexual exploitation. The State is required to protect children from acts that are injurious to their educational opportunities, health and welfare.
Art. 73: requires the State to give full consideration to children and mothers and to establish nurseries and help support women and children who have inadequate support
Protection of children and women in Cambodia are also established in different agreements of the national legislation such as:
- The Penal Code
- The Civil Code
- The Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation 2008
- The Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection of the Victims 2005
- The Law on Proportion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2009
- The Social Security Law 2002
- The Law on Inter-Country Adoption 2009
- The Law on Marriage and Family 1989
- The Law on Education 2007
- The Law on Khmer Nationality1996
- Sub-decree on on Civil Status No. 103 of December 2000
Please visit the website of Child Rights International Network for more information about the Cambodian national laws on children’s rights.
In Cambodia a minor or underage is a person under 18 years old. However, the age of consent is 16. According to the Article 8 of the Law for suppression of the kidnapping, trafficking and exploitation of human persons, it is written:
Any person who commits debauchery acts onto a minor person of below 15 years old, even if there is consent from the concerned minor person or if upon buying such minor person from somebody else or from a head of the prostitutes, shall be subject to punishment from ten (10) to twenty (20) years in prison. In case of not giving up, the maximum punishment term shall be applied.
The court may, in addition to the above principal punishment, apply a sub-punishment by restriction of the civil rights and non-authorization of residence.
In our Don Bosco Cambodia projects, all children and youth inscribed in our programs are considered vulnerable people. It applies especially for the following individuals:
- Children under 18 years old.
- Children and youth who are coming from very poor communities and do not have more opportunities, so they trust in the Don Bosco projects to get a future.
- Girls and young women of any age.
- Children and youth with disabilities.
- Children and youth who have been abused, rescued from human trafficking, child workers, child beggars or victims of domestic violence, abandonment and orphans.
- Children and youth who are victims of discrimination by their families or communities for their physical disabilities, sexual preferences, gender, ethnicity or any other kind of discrimination.
All these persons are considered vulnerable. In this case, they must be objetive of special attention and care.
Policies for teachers, volunteers, staff and any person involved in any Project of Don Bosco in Cambodia in a permanent or temporal way:
- Please announce your visit with the guard. In any special case, you will ask to provide an identification document. It includes persons who worked before in Don Bosco.
- Don’t take photos or films of children and students without authorization.
- Adults don’t have special attentions to a particular child or student.
- Adults must not be alone with children inside rooms, cars or private areas. Meet children and students in public areas.
- Adults don’t make promises to children and students such as going to their countries or sending special gifts.
- Adults don’t give money to children and students. If a child or student has a particular need, please refer to the Don Bosco administration.
- Don Bosco requests police records from foreign volunteers or persons that will deal with children and students.
- Child offenders or persons that have been convicted for child offenses are not authorized to approach to children in Don Bosco Kep at least those persons present a extraordinary reference from a tribunal or police department stating that such person is not a risk to children.
- Child offenders or persons that have been convicted for child offenses must not live near Don Bosco schools or the public school or any area where children use to meet within 1 kilometer around the school, at least there is an extraordinary reference from a tribunal or police department stating that such person is not a risk to children.
- Don Bosco keeps the right to request to authorities that a person with child offenses record should move farther from Don Bosco schools.
- Adults must not court Don Bosco students, even if they are older than 18 years old or keep special relations that can be understood as a lover partner relation. Foreign volunteers saying that a particular student is their girlfriend or boyfriend, will be dismissed.
- Adults courting children are strictly prohibited in Don Bosco. In a very suspicious case, it is our duty to report to authorities any case where children can be victim of any sort of abuse by an adult.
- Adults working in Don Bosco as teachers, volunteers or administration, are intended to follow this Child Protection Policy and it includes the protection of any child related or not with the school.
- Nobody is authorized to use the Internet of Don Bosco to open pornographic sites. In a very special way, it is strictly forbidden to use the Internet to court children or to use material that represent child nudity or any online action that represents an offense against children. In a very serious case, it is our duty to report to authorities.
- Adults related with Don Bosco do not engage in prostitution activities, especially if such activities involve underage persons.
- Adults must have a lawful authorization from Don Bosco administration in order to bring children and students out of the school for special activities, even if students are older than 18.
- It is strictly forbidden to use physically violence against children and students related or not to Don Bosco. Adults using violence against children and students can be dismissed or reported. It includes also psychological bullying, humiliation, shouting or any way that put children and students in trouble.
- Adults must not touch children and students in a way it can be understood as harassment, being it in public or private.
- Places reserved for gender separation must be respected in a strictly way: males must not enter female areas; females must not enter male’s areas. Exceptions must be lawfully justified.
- Don Bosco educators must work closely with children and students to prevent bullying inside the school. Children or students that are victim of bullying, must be assisted all the time. Students or children that make bullying to others must be assisted also to change their behavior.
- It is strictly forbidden to bring guns, drugs, cigarettes or explosives within the Don Bosco schools. Drugs’ users cannot apply as educators in Don Bosco Cambodia.
- Don Bosco schools are non-smoking areas.
- Adults must not invite children and students to drink alcohol under any reason.
- Adults must dress in a proper way and respecting the Cambodian culture. Please do not dress in a way that can be seen as arousal to students. Be aware of cultural shocks: what could be seen as normal in your country, can be a scandal in this one.
- The Don Bosco schools are not targets of “Orphan Tourism” or any sort of activity where children are portrayed as attractions. You are welcome to visit and know our Projects and support it.
If you see something suspicious that could put a child in danger of any sort of abuse, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 097.371.2020 in Kep or Kampot Province. You can call also on the Cambodian Child Network is any abuse is underway right now: 012 – 311 112. You can call the Cambodian Police if you see a sexual abuse on underage persons or human trafficking: 023 997 919.
If you see a suspicious case, don’t try to take actions yourself. Call for a professional assistance. If you can take photographic or filming evidences, it can be useful.
What can be suspicious?
- An underage person with an adult that seems not related to him/her. Be aware of ethnic families. Try to be sure of the type of relation between the adult and the child before any action.
- An adult bringing an underage person inside a hotel or guesthouse.
- In Cambodia persons of the same gender show physical affection (boys holding the hands of other boys, embracing each other, etc.) Be aware that it has nothing to see with homosexuality. It is a cultural show of friendship. If you are a man and a boy holds your hand, he means friendship. Do not confuse it with sexual aspects. Now well, some persons can abuse this fact for sexual courting of teenagers, If you see an adult, especially a foreigner, touching too much a child and hidden under the assumption it is “cultural”, you can conclude it is only harassment. Please contact the administration if you see a case that way.
Other actions to prevent child abuse in Cambodia:
- Don’t give money to child beggars. Most of them are used by criminal adults.
- Don’t buy things from children on beaches or other tourist spots after 6PM (18:00). It will keep them at the place during the night.
- The “pot of milk” scam with a little girl and a baby is scams… don’t believe on it.
- Don’t accept “child tourist guides”. Ignore them and they will not follow you.
- Don’t accept to participate in “orphanage tourism”. It is scam… If you want to donate to orphanages, investigate which ones are real and provide funds directly to them.