What Can You Do If You Suspect a Child is in Danger of Online Sexual Exploitation?

Topic Progress:

Provide support

As a practitioner working with children you are likely to be one of the first people a child may feel comfortable coming to if they have become victim of OCSE. The child will likely already feel feelings of shame, fear and low self-esteem following their abuse, and the first thing they need in order to recover and regain their confidence is to understand that they have done nothing wrong, realize that the situation is not hopeless and that they are not alone.

A common problem is that when abuse is disclosed, much of the focus goes on what the child has done rather what manipulation of the offender lead to the abuse. This type of focus increases the child’s feeling that they were to blame for what happened. Unsupportive approaches of handling cases of abuse can worsen children’s feelings and prevent them from speaking up.  Receiving appropriate support by friends, family and professionals surrounding the child is one of the key elements which can reduce the negative impact OCSE has on a child.

Keeping quiet about the abuse can add more emotional distress on the child which will increase their difficulties. Encouraging them to speak about their abuse despite the fear they may have, can help lessen the negative impact and allow them to receive help.

If you suspect a child may be suffering from OCSE seek out the child and take them to a place where you can speak with them in private.  If they disclose abuse:

  • You should listen attentively without judgment and take what is said seriously.
  • Do not interrupt the child or ask leading questions. Your role is not to investigate the child or to verify the details of the case.
  • Assure the child that speaking about it and coming to you was the right thing to do.
  • Assure them that they have done nothing wrong.
  • Show empathy and support.
  • Explain to the child that you might need to pass the information, but it will be only to those who need to know and whose job it is to protect children.
  • Provide the child with information on how they can get further support from professionals and aid them in reporting the abuse.

Report cases of OCSE

If you are exposed to CSEM or a child discloses OCSE to you, you can file an online report of the case on APLE’s internet hotline www.internethotlinecambodia.org. Reports are anonymous and stay confidential.

APLE’s internet hotline has been launched in partnership with INHOPE Foundation and provides an easy and efficient way to report cases specifically related to online child sexual exploitation in Cambodia.

Once APLE receives a report, an analyst assesses its legality, and then notifies law enforcement and/or internet service providers to help take the illegal material off of the web.

You can also report through APLE’s 24/7 hotline – 092 311 511.

Why should you report?

It is essential you report cases of sexual exploitation of children online:

  • Reporting increases the possibility of removing the abusive content from the web and helps stop the abuse.
  • It can aid in victim identification and enable the child to receive support and assistance.
  • It improves chances of finding the child sex offender and helps bring the offender to justice.
  • The more people report, the less offenders will act in fear of being caught.
  • Normalising reporting can provide victims with the confidence of disclosing abuse when it occurs, knowing they will receive help.
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