Child help line records 800-plus genuine calls

A TOTAL of 830 genuine calls have been received through the Child Help Line as of January to June this year.

This was revealed by Medical Services Pacific founder and executive director Jennifer Poole, who said those calls were related to gender-based violence, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and neglect, among other reasons.

She said there were 2171 calls for gender-based violence alone whereby 824 callers were from the Central Division.

Ms Poole said Fiji had a youthful population with 48 per cent under 25 years of age and women, youth and children who are most at risk of sexual violence and abuse.

“There are high rates of sexual assault (child defilement/abduction) and correspondingly high rates of teenage pregnancies, which impede girls’ access to tertiary education and limit their engagement in development dialogues and leadership.

Ms Poole said there was a high need for family planning as evidenced by the relatively-low contraceptive prevalence rate of 44 per cent and ongoing epidemics in STIs (such as Syphilis and Chlamydia).

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