HUNDRED and one Fiji children under the age of 15 were sexually abused in the first six months of the year.
This was confirmed to The Fiji Times by the permanent secretary for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Govind Sami. The ministry's National Child Welfare Register 2012 recorded 33 new cases in June compared to 68 from January to May.
The register also recorded 28 cases of physical abuse of children, one of emotional abuse, nine abandonment cases, 40 child neglect cases and 16 other forms of abuses.
Mr Sami said under the Child Welfare Decree (CWD) it was mandatory for social welfare officers, medical officers, legal officers and police officers to report all cases to the permanent secretary.
"Increasingly, the Social Welfare Ministry awareness programs have targeted breaking the culture of silence on such issues," Mr Sami said.
He said it was a positive indication that people were not keeping quiet on issues concerning children.
"Child protection is one of the key priorities of the Social Welfare Ministry.
"The ministry works with UNICEF and child advocates like Save the Children's Fund along with other government ministries and NGOs through the National Co-ordinating Committee on Children (NCCC) to create awareness and cultivate the message that children are a gift from God.
"We must love and protect them."