Child abuse deeper ‘rot’ in society

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Save the Children Fiji chief executive officer Shairana Ali. Picture: SUPPLIED/FILE

Recent child abuse statistics reveal a deeper “rot” in our society. And child abuse is unacceptable, it is inexcusable and a despicable act that warrants the prosecution of perpetrators to the full extent of the law, says Save the Children Fiji chief executive officer Shairana Ali.

She said this in response to the recent revelation of distressing statistics on child abuse shared by the Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection Lynda Tabuya during the parliamentary session last week.

According to the reported data, a staggering 950 cases of child abuse had been documented from January to July of this year. She said equally distressing was the fact that four of these innocent children were below the age of one.

Ms Ali said the 950 cases were not just numbers. She said they represented the suffering and anguish endured by our most vulnerable members of society – children.

“Child abuse in any form is a grievous violation of the rights of children and a grave injustice,” she said.

“It is one of the worst forms of degradation that can be committed on a child. These statistics reveal a deeper rot within our societies, and we must urgently address this scourge.

“These statistics demand our unequivocal condemnation and a swift, co-ordinated response to end the child abuse scourge in our society.”

She commended Ms Tabuya for standing firm and for bringing this critical issue to the forefront of parliamentary discourse on the abuse and exploitation of children in Fiji.

Ms Ali also called upon Government, stakeholders and partners to strengthen and enforce laws.

She said there was also a need for more public awareness campaigns, resource allocation, collaborative efforts, continuous monitoring and evaluation of child protection initiatives to ensure their effectiveness in safeguarding children.

Save the Children Fiji’s child protection currently runs awareness programs in 24 communities in the Central Division and 10 communities in the Western Division, advocating and raising awareness about the importance of child protection.

Call the Child Helpline toll-free number 1325 available 24/7 or reach out to Save the Children Fiji on 3313178 to report any concerns with children.

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