975 offences against children

Help end violence against children today. Picture: UNICEF PNG

BETWEEN 2016 and 2017, Fiji recorded a total of 975 offences committed against children under the Child Welfare Act.

A presentation by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation’s Child Services Unit during a National Substance Abuse Advisory Council (NSAAC) workshop in Labasa last week revealed that the Northern Division recorded 217 cases, the highest by division.

The South Eastern Division recorded 183 cases while the other sub-divisions accounted for the 575 cases.

“The ministry also conducted the Prevention Against Child Abuse and Neglect (PCAN)campaign, with 14 held in the North and 13 in the Central Division,” the presentation revealed.

“A total of 43 out of 96 probations for juveniles were recorded in the North within the same period.”

The presentation further warned those witnessing offences committed against children to report them to the ministry.

“You can be charged for failure to give notice to the ministry’s permanent secretary and will be liable to a fine not exceeding $5000,” the presentation said.

“The Child Helpline of 1325 is a toll-free service where children can call to discuss any concerns they may have and also report abuse.

“Adults can call to discuss their concerns over children while children will also be provided with counselling.

“The line is open and being answered by trained counsellors and they can speak English, iTaukei, Hindi and Rotuman.”

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