A success story in providing holistic services to acid burn survivors and the prevention of acid violence in Cambodia.
CASC’s Mission The Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity (CASC) was established in 2006 as a direct response to the lack of services and the limited options for medical treatment made available to acid burn survivors in Cambodia. Recognizing that acid burn survivors require long-term psychological, medical, and social care, CASC provides survivors with a unique range of services and a holistic approach for their physical and psychological rehabilitation. The four petals in the CASC logo reflect the different aspects of CASC’s work: 1. Surgical, medical, and psychological treatment; 2. Vocational training and social reintegration projects; 3. Legal assistance and advocacy for legal reform; and 4. Awareness raising, research, education and advocacy to eliminate acid violence in Cambodia.
Statistics on acid violence in Cambodia CASC has recorded a total of 329 acid burn incidents in 23 different provinces dating back to 1964. A total of 413 victims have been recorded as a result of these incidents with a total of 76% of all acid burn survivors recorded by CASC were the victims of violent attacks. Survivors by Age and Gender
1. Surgical, medical, and psychological treatment To date, and in conjunction with the Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC), CASC provided the following services for acid burns survivors: 362 operations 1,368 consultations 12,890 physiotherapy treatment and consultations sessions 956 pressure garments were made and refitted 2,410 counseling sessions 176 home visits conducted
2. Vocational training and social reintegration projects 64 Acid Burn Survivor Support Group Meetings were convened to foster peer support, provide a venue for survivors to talk about success and challenges faced in their reintegration and participate in legal and social workshops 107 survivors were reintegrated back into society 104 survivors received vocational training 61 survivors received work placements Up to 58 children received educational support annually 3,866 Bags by Acid Burn Survivors were produced and proceeds of the sales returned to survivors 1,115 kilograms of produce was sold in local markets or consumed on-site from the Agricultural Project
3. Legal assistance and advocacy for legal reform Legal Unit worked to achieve justice for acid burn survivors in as many as 53 cases and continues to monitor 9 cases 11 final prison sentences were given to perpetrators and required to pay compensation to survivors CASC began advocating for legal reform for harsher penalties for perpetrators and the regulation of acid in 2009 CASC was asked to sit on the Acid Committee with Ministry of Interior to create a greater understanding of the issue and provide recommendations for the draft Acid Law In November 2011 the Acid Law was passed by the National Assembly and Senate, promulgated by the King in December 2011, and formally enacted as law in January 2012 The Sub-decree regarding the regulation and control of concentrated acid passed in January 2013
4. Awareness raising, research, education and advocacy to eliminate acid violence in Cambodia Conducted outreach in 21 of 23 provinces Sensitized 2,645 health and legal service providers, local law enforcement, teachers, students, and community members Established a 24-Hour Hotline for the referral and notification of new cases which received 125 calls from health providers and survivors since it was created Disseminated 3,785 prevention and awareness materials, including copies of the Acid Law and Sub-decree Developed partnerships and networks with 53 organizations in Cambodia and internationally to strengthen support services for survivors, referral networks, and prevention activities Worked with 59 media agents nationally and internationally and 117 articles, radio, TV and online programs were published Established the first evidence base and analysis of the nature and scope of acid violence in Cambodia through the publication of 7 reports
CASC’s Achievement Acid attacks have been steadily decreasing in Cambodia in part due to the passage of the Acid Law and Sub-decree. CASC recorded a total of 3 acid attacks in 2013 resulting in 6 new acid burn survivors. This marks a 40% reduction in attacks from 2012 and 83% decrease from the peak year in 2010 where there were 20 acid attacks and 36 survivors recorded. To date, 412 acid burn survivors have been recorded by CASC, 316 of whom were provided with acute burn surgery, treatment, and/or supportive services. While there has been a significant reduction in new cases, some survivors need some form of long term support which CASC continues to provide services for.