Despite the many years of intervention by international agencies and millions of dollars spent on training and capacity building of the education system, many of the schools in Cambodia are still failing to protect children from potentially falling prey to sexual abuse.
As a follow up to a question I received recently from newly arrived expats enquiring about schools in Cambodia, I did some research to identify schools that have created and implemented strict policy ensuring that all teachers and staff who engage with students, provide a criminal history check from their country of origin, and undergo background checks before commencing their employment.
I can tell you that I am gobsmacked at the number of schools in Cambodia who don’t have a child protection policy, who have not requested a criminal history check and who have not conducted a background check on all of the people in their school who engage with children.
In fairness, I did not check all schools in Cambodia, however if the number of schools I did identify as not having conducted criminal history checks or background checks on their teachers and staff, is a reflection of the broader base of schools, then we have a very concerning issue in Cambodia.
Unfortunately I have worked in an environment over the past 21 years that has exposed me to some of the most ugliest and terrifying elements of society. The world of child sexual abuse is widespread with pedophiles and child sex offenders looking to infiltrate organisations that liaise with children.
Granted, most people haven’t had the exposure to these crimes as I have. However there are reports in the media every day of children in schools being sexually abused, and there is absolutely no excuse for any school to not have a child protection policy and to have teachers and staff who have not undergone criminal history and background checks. Article from SMH
The result of failing to proactively protect children from sexual abuse is horrifying. Not only are children’s lives destroyed but civil litigation and potentially criminal prosecution against the school and its Directors is a very real possibility. Read Here
As parents we don’t get second chances. I implore every parent to contact their child’s school and ask the question about child protection policies and background checks on teachers.
It is your right as parents to demand answers and it is the right of your children to be protected!