Home > Press Releases > Save the Children Fiji Calls for a Whole of Community Approach to Stop Sexual Abuse of Children

Save the Children Fiji (SC Fiji) is deeply concerned with the data released by the Office of the
Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) on serious sexual offence cases. In the month of March
2023, the ODPP has reported that 24 people were charged with a total of 48 counts of sexual
offences. The offences were rape (30), attempted rape (2), defilement (4), indecently annoying
(1) and sexual assault (11). Of the 24 accused persons, two were juveniles and of the 21 victims,
there were 14 victims who were under the age of 18 years. There were 13 incidents where the
victims and the accused were related to one another. The youngest victim was only 3 years old.

“SC Fiji is particularly concerned with the data released from the ODPP and has noted that
between December 2022 to March 2023 alone, 39 children suffered from sexual abuse. SC Fiji
believes that sexual abuse of children is a heinous crime for which perpetrators must receive
maximum sentencing and the justice system must not fail the innocent children who suffer from
such atrocious offences. Equally concerning is the findings from the recent rape case analysis
conducted by the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) which has highlighted that Fiji’s justice
system is still applying the ‘first offender’ discount in 2 out of 3 cases where the perpetrator
committed multiple offending. SC Fiji reiterates that no discounts should be offered to multiple
offending and the justice system and courts in Fiji must always make judgements in the best
interest of these children.’’ SC Fiji Chief Executive Officer, Shairana Ali said.

“The rape case analysis has highlighted that the average age of the victim is 14 years old and that
in 70 percent of the cases, the victim knew the accused with the youngest victim being only 2 years
old. These findings are appalling and demonstrate that sexual violence against children in Fiji is
worsening and, there are children who continue to be subjected to horrific acts which has long
term impact on their health and wellbeing. Sexual violence is a gross violation of children’s rights
and must not be condoned by anyone in society.’’ Ali added.

SC Fiji is calling for a whole of community approach to stop sexual abuse of children. A collective
approach is needed so that everyone in the community is empowered to speak up and come
forward to report any inappropriate behaviour towards children. SC Fiji is currently scaling up a
Safe Families program to empower parents and children to learn about preventing violence and
abuse against children and to make homes and communities safe for children.

“A national partnership on child protection is key and we call on the government, civil society and
faith based organisations to strengthen child protection systems and work collectively with SC Fiji
to end violence and abuse of children in our community. A consistent and continuous approach is
required to change attitudes and behaviours towards children and to promote child rights and
child protection in communities and the onus is on everybody to do their part because sexual
violence against children is not acceptable and preventing such crimes is society’s responsibility to
children.’’ Ms Ali said.

Save the Children Fiji is currently implementing a five year collective action to end violence against
children program in 24 communities and has recently completed the program in all communities
on Koro Island. Our aim is to take this program nationwide to all communities and homes and
create safer families and communities which are safe and free from violence against children.

For more information please contact:

Vika Ramara, SC Fiji Communications Officer, Vika.Ramara@savethechildren.org