Abuse tops forum talks

THERE have been 683 cases of child abuse reported so far this year and this cannot be condoned any longer, says Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta.

In his address at the Save the Children Fiji children’s forum in Suva last Friday, Dr Koroivueta said this number was alarming and unacceptable.

“The thing to understand is no child is immune and those at risk cut across all boundaries of age, gender, religion, ethnic origin, disability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression,” Dr Koroivueta said.

“Looking at the impact that violence has on children, it is safe to say that it can be lifelong and even passed from generation to generation.

“When young people experience violence, the likelihood of them becoming future victims and or acting violently themselves as adults increases.”

Dr Koroivueta commended Save the Children Fiji for the two-day forum initiative, in which 50 children from 47 schools around Fiji discussed violence against children and developed a manifesto to be presented to the National Co-ordinating Committee on Children (NCCC).

Save the Children Fiji CEO Iris Low-McKenzie said that it was important to hear from children themselves on an issue concerning them.

“We often hear from the Government, from the courts, from the police and civil society speaking up against various forms of violence against children but do we ever hear from the children,” Ms Low-McKenzie said.

“This forum will discuss issues surrounding violence against children in homes, schools, streets and online.

“They will identify risks and developing strategies to overcome this issue and a manifesto will be developed.”

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