Key Areas of Focus: Sexual Abuse of Boys and Young Men, Social Service Workforce Strengthening, Family Strengthening
Background: First Step Cambodia (FSC) is a Cambodian non-governmental organization established in 2010 as a response to the research paper: “I Thought it Could Never Happen to Boys”, which documented stories of sexual abuses against boys in Cambodia. Based on this study’s findings, FSC was specifically designed to meet the needs of boys who are survivors of sexual abuse and children displaying sexually harmful behavior. FSC also serves the children’s families, caregivers, supporters and communities.
What They Do: FSC's primary goal is to ensure that all children are protected from sexual abuse and that all those affected by abuse are supported and enabled to reach their potential. FSC achieves this goal through social work and other activities related to Prevention, Capacity Building, and Support.
FSC's Prevention & Protection programs aim to increase the understanding, knowledge and awareness among different stakeholders including schoolteachers, students, children, parents, caregivers, villagers, and service providers who directly engage with children. To achieve this, FSC has developed a range of educational resources and tools, which are delivered in a range of workshops and forums, to both children and adults, and distributed for use in organizations and community settings. They see close partnerships and strong networks as the key to success and providing sustainable solutions. Their team facilitates and contributes to NGO networks and partnership meetings to raise awareness, and to promote and improve collaboration and service delivery to their target beneficiaries.
FSC's Capacity-Building programs provide specialist training, learning and consultation opportunities to improve the capacity of professionals to deliver quality services to children and families affected by sexual abuse, harmful sexual behaviors and psychosocial issues. FSC offers a wide range of training, including but not limited to: Social Work with Child Survivors of Sexual Abuse, Case Management, Working with Family, Alcohol Abuse, Supervision and Sexually Harmful Behavior by Children.
FSC strives to base its social work and program design on sound research. As research into the issues of 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 behavior displayed by children in Cambodia and the wider region. They use their findings to increase the knowledge and awareness of these issues, to better inform families, professionals and government in Cambodia.
FSC's Support programs provide social work services that are appropriate and sensitive to children who are at risk of, or affected by sexual abuse, and children displaying SHB. They build on the child’s strengths and apply the Social-Ecological Model, engaging with the children’s families, supporters and community, making them an integral part of the process. Based on a foundation of research, they embrace child-friendly and client-centered approaches.
Their social workers provide regular counseling and therapeutic services to children over a period of (up to) 24 months and are always available to talk in times of need. In most cases, FSC is confronted with vulnerable families and poverty related issues. They maximize the child’s chances to recover from their experiences and live in a safe and supportive home environment by increasing the family’s knowledge, involvement and capacity, and by providing practical support: assistance in court, help in transportation, access to education or vocational training, food security, health care, and income generation. To achieve this, FSC uses a strong network of partner organizations.
Where They Work: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and surrounding provinces of Cambodia