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Fiji Time: 4:46 PM on Wednesday 3 September

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Child abuse cases reported

Mere Naleba
Saturday, November 17, 2012

THE Social Welfare Department believes that many people are reporting child abuse cases after the implementation of the Child Welfare Decree 2010.

Social Welfare permanent secretary Govind Sami said with reporting child abuse made mandatory, people were beginning to report any suspected or confirmed child abuse case they knew of.

"Community awareness programs have helped raise a lot of awareness on the issues," he said.

"We have increased our networks with all line ministries and NGOs that work in this area."

A survey conducted by the Social Welfare Department showed that between January to May this year, there were 68 cases of child sexual abuse, 18 physical abuse cases, 11 cases of parental neglect, two drug abuse cases, two abandonment cases, seven malnutrition cases, one teenage pregnancy case and one indecent assault case.

In a separate survey conducted by the department in 2006 to 2010, the year 2010 showed a gross increase of 114 reported cases of sexual abuse, 63 cases of physical abuse, 30 cases of emotional abuse, 51 cases of parental neglect, 51 cases of abandonment and 78 cases of children taken in by the Social Welfare Department under the category of victims of parental conflict.

"Families and communities are recognising this as an issue now," said Mr Sami.

"It is no longer a private family matter. Child rights are everybody's business.

"The child protection facilitation package was recently launched with support from UNICEF and will be rolled out in villages and settlements to create awareness on good parenting and the protection of rights of children," said Mr Sami.


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