Child Safe Tourism

March 11, 2013

Free Child Helpline in Cambodia expands to 24 hours

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – 2 March 2013.

Child Helpline Cambodia extends its free 1280 helpline services’ opening hours from 13.5 to 24 hours today. The extension will meet the demand for access to emotional support services overnight, when many children and youth are in a better position to contact phone counsellors to discuss problems. Additionally, many problems occur late at night and children and youth require assistance.

H.E Khiev Bory, Chairperson for Child Helpline Cambodia’s Board of Directors and the current Secretary General of the Cambodian National Council for Children (CNCC), is passionate about the child rights approach that the 24 hour launch of services will embrace. “The service expansion into 24 hours benefits so much to children and youth especially their rights and protection. Child Helpline Cambodia is the voice of children. Children, youth and concerned adults could [can now] always call for assistance,” she said.

Ms Carol Mortensen, Country Director of ChildFund Cambodia which hosted Child Helpline Cambodia from 2009 to 2012, and current Co Deputy Chairperson for Child Helpline Cambodia’s Board of Directors, believes that the expansion to 24 hour services is a milestone in the helpline’s organisational development. “I have been supporting the helpline since it was established in 2009 and over this time it has gained significant organisational strength. Going 24 hours really demonstrates just how far the team has come in three years,” she said.

Mr Sean Sok Phay, Executive Director of Child Helpline Cambodia, is excited by the increased accessibility that the 24 hour launch will provide. “We were already open to all children and youth with all types of problems. And now we are open all the time to listen, support and empower our young callers. We are the only child-friendly phoneline offering long term emotional support service 24 hours with no call costs. This also means that we now comply with all of Child Helpline International’s accessibility recommendations,” he said.

Accessibility to Child Helpline Cambodia services is already high due to the free 1280 helpline which has been in operation since 2010. 1280 can be phoned from a zero credit phone from all phone networks where mobile reception is available in Cambodia. Counsellors can also be contacted via SMS (at standard SMS costs) and at the Child Helpline Cambodia website through a question and answer forum where answered are posted within one week.

Child Helpline Cambodia is unique because it is a free helpline which provides long term emotional support, rather than a hotline that conducts immediate intervention.

Child Helpline Cambodia allows children and youth up to 25 years old to reach out when they need it, in real time and speak directly with phone counsellors in a safe and confidential environment. Callers can discuss the full spectrum of problems – from homework to bullying, family troubles to all forms of abuse. Counsellors will either provide emotional support or information to empower clients to make decisions for themselves, or link them to the appropriate referral partners.

Child Helpline Cambodia is supported by