SC-Fiji calls for commitment to end violence against children

SAVE the Children Fiji (SC-Fiji) is calling on the State and everybody to collectively commit themselves to end violence against children now.

In a statement, Fiji’s leading child rights organisation said this was a national issue that needed urgent national attention.

The call came in light after media highlighted cases of child sexual abuse, bullying, teenage pregnancies, children exploitation, missing children, abduction, incest and other violent behaviours committed against children in the last three months.

SC-Fiji said it was deeply concerned by the recent figures on the acts of violence against children highlighted in the media for the past months.

It stated with the development benefits of great connectivity through the internet, new forms of child sexual abuse and exploitation were enabled as consumers upgrade broadband networks.

And while SC Fiji applauded and commended the Government of Fiji for imposing harsh penalties as deterrents, it also stated that such measures needed to be connected between government agencies, the private sector, faith-based groups, and civil society organisations to strengthen the safety net to protect the children.

“Let the best interests of the children of our Fiji be of paramount concern and let us all work together to protect them from violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and all other emerging issues,” the organisation stated.

SC Fiji also stated that since the banning of corporal punishment, an analysis needed to be conducted on how service providers had coped with alternative forms of discipline, especially in schools where teachers had expressed challenges.

“Where Child Protection Policies exist, this needs to be reviewed and seriously implemented to ensure that there are sufficient reporting procedures, that the polices are understood and that it provides a clear description of appropriate behaviour.”

It also highlighted Article 19 on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Fiji signed in 1993, that stated that children must be protected from abuse, neglect and exploitation, therefore, as a signatory of the Convention, duty bearers must ensure that children’s safety and protection is paramount.

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