956 cases of child abuse and neglect reported, says Tabuya

Minister for Rural and Maritime Development, and Disaster Management Sakiasi Ditoka left, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Agni Deo Singh and Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Lynda Tabuya on their into Parliament on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. Picture: ATU RASEA 12/09/23.

For the year 2023, a total of 956 cases of child abuse and neglect were reported between the months of January and July compared with 1206 cases for the same period last year.

Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection Lynda Tabuya made the statement in Parliament yesterday and revealed this was a decrease compared with the corresponding period last year, however, cases were still being reported and the number could increase.

Of the cases reported, 54 per cent of the victims were girls, 75 per cent were of neglect, physical abuse and behavioral and sexual abuse.

Ms Tabuya said 4 per cent of the victims were below the age of one and 75 per cent of the perpetrators were known to the victim. Of the 75 per cent, 70 per cent were immediate family members.

“Four out of five children, that is 83 per cent of our children, are facing some form of abuse or violence,” Ms Tabuya said.

“We must at all costs ensure that we as a nation strengthen our commitment to caring and protecting our own.”

The minister said the sad reality remained that children were still subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse and neglect.

She said the ministry had allocated $100,000 for the establishment of the Department of Children.

Ms Tabuya said the Government continued to provide $200,000 for the child protection program, $200,000 for the child help line, $10,000 for the development of the child care policy and program and $230,000 for grants to voluntary organisations managing children’s homes and Empower Pacific.

A further $100,000 would be allocated for state homes for girls and $692,900 for the boys’ centre (juvenile offenders).

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