Supporting boys affected by sexual abuse
First Step Cambodia (FSC) work with boys who are survivors of sexual abuse and children who display harmful sexual behaviour, as well as their families, carers and communities.
Their work focuses on raising awareness and understanding in order to prevent sexual abuse; improving the skills of professionals to provide quality services to children and families affected by sexual abuse and harmful sexual behaviours; and delivering counselling and therapeutic social work services that are sensitive to children who are at risk of, or affected by sexual abuse, and children displaying harmful sexual behaviours. FSC involve the children’s families, support network and community, making them an integral part of the process.
Until the development of FSC’s specialist services, nothing of this kind existed in Cambodia. Through their work, FSC are beginning to change beliefs that are mostly ill-informed taboos and improve the responses boys receive when they need or seek support.
FSC social workers support children over a period of (up to) 24 months. In most cases, they are confronted with vulnerable families and poverty-related issues. FSC maximise the child’s chances to recover from their experiences and live in a safe and supportive home environment by providing practical support to their families such as assistance in court, help with transportation, access to education or training, food and health care.
As research into sexual abuse, especially related to boys, is scarce in Cambodia, FSC has been leading and contributing to evidence-based research related to the abuse of boys and sexually-harmful behaviour displayed by children in Cambodia and the wider region. They use their findings to increase the knowledge of these issues, to better inform families, professionals and the government.