Minister reveals worrying fact of crimes against children

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa. Picture: FT FILE

A ONE-YEAR and 10-month-old baby is Fiji’s youngest rape victim.

This was revealed by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, during the closing of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Week at Gospel Primary School on Friday.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said while the one-year and 10-month-old baby was the youngest rape victim for last year, a two-year-old was recorded as the youngest rape victim for this year.

She said the data released by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from January 2017 to June this year revealed that of the 308 victims of rape and sexual offences, 199 were children below the age of 18.

She said 64.4 per cent of the victims of rape and sexual offences were children.

“As a mother, I am also very concerned about the increasing statistics on crimes against children, particularly sex crimes against children,” she said.

“Another worrying fact is that a significant number of perpetrators of rape and sexual offences against children are known to the child-victim or is in a fiduciary relationship or a postition of trust.”

She said in 121 incidences of rape and sexual offences against children, the perpetrator was highly-likely related to the child where 34 perpetrators were children themselves.

Mrs Vuniwaqa said the worrying statistics demanded that we re-look at the way we take care of our children.

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