A NINE-month-old baby is the youngest rape victim in Fiji.
This was revealed by the National Co-ordinator of Children Abuse and Sexual Offence within the Fiji Police Force, Detective Inspector Salaseini Vakatuturagani.
And the force has described the incident as "shocking" saying for the first time, a baby was the victim of rape in the country.
Ms Vakatuturagani said the incident occurred in one of the outer islands last year.
She said the matter was reported to the police after the baby was taken to the hospital for a check up when she could not stop crying.
Ms Vakatuturagani said the perpetrator, a 39-year-old man, was in custody.
Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua, however, admitted that last year was not a good year.
"Even this year, we have reported 10 cases of rape in January alone," Brig-Gen Naivalurua said.
He has called on church leaders to step on board and work with them because cases of sexual offences continue to be a concern to the police despite repeated reminders and warnings issued to the public.
"This is really the element of morality within the families but the intervention and approach cannot be done by police alone," Brig-Gen Naivalurua said.
"The church is well armed to handle this," he said.
Ms Vakatuturagani said a 79-year-old man was the oldest perpetrator of sexual crimes while a 10-year-old was the youngest. The case with the 10-year-old was reported in the beginning of this year.
Meanwhile, Fiji Women's Crisis Centre deputy co-ordinator Edwina Kotoisuva said the incident was a total abuse of power and trust. She said a lot of men in society nowadays were taking advantage of those who were vulnerable.
Last year, police recorded a total of 2980 sexual crimes.
Police statistics revealed the southern division recorded the highest at 1217 cases; followed by the Western Division — 758 cases; and then Eastern Division — 556; the Northern Division — 373; and the lowest received at Totogo of 76 cases.
Of all these sexual crimes, offences against public morality topped the list with 2153, and rape and attempted rape followed with 448 cases.