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Child abuse cases on the rise

Vishaal Kumar
Saturday, November 04, 2017

REPORTED cases of child abuse and neglect in Fiji continue to rise.

Save the Children (SC) Fiji chief executive officer, Iris McKenzie, said this while responding to the latest statistics on rape and sexual offences in the country released by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

Ms McKenzie said these cases needed to be investigated thoroughly to ensure perpetrators were put behind bars.

"We need to acknowledge that reporting and responding is happening and Fiji's legislative environment is such that it protects the rights of children and therefore everyone, including children's need to become familiar with Fiji's laws and the laws should be a deterrent for irresponsible behaviour," she said.

"Children must be protected. It is most often not an easy task to report such incidences, particularly if the perpetrator is a close family relative as seen in recently reported cases where there were 13 incidents where the accused and the victims were related to each other.

"We commend those that have reported these incidences, they must be protected for doing so, because it is the right thing to do."

Ms McKenzie said out of the 27 people charged, four were under the age of 18 years and this needed serious attention.

"Proper investigation and counselling support need to be provided to the children to determine what has contributed to the choices that they have made," she said.

"Children exposed to domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse are more likely to grow into perpetrators and victims themselves. Therefore, we need to address the root causes of abuse, neglect and exploitation of our children."

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