Save the Children Fiji is very saddened by the recent and increasingly alarming rise of sexual abuses against children, including the recent reported case of a baby who was sexually abused from two months of age.

Whilst we urge the authorities to take these instances seriously, to investigate thoroughly and ensure that the perpetrators are put behind bars — these abhorrent abuses must be stopped. Children must be protected. Society needs to change the way children are seen, not as vulnerable individuals who can be subject to ill-abuse of power resulting in physical, emotional or sexual abuse, but as rights-holders who deserve to be protected from all forms of violence.

Save the Children Fiji commends those who have stood up for the rights of children and identified abuse or child protection issues. It is most often not an easy task, particularly if the perpetrator is a close family relative — as seen in recently reported cases. However, we must remind ourselves that it is the RIGHT thing to do, and that as individuals, communities, and as a nation, we have a responsibility to protect our children. Any abuse of children is not acceptable, and society should not condone it.

We would also like to remind the children of Fiji that it is not wrong to speak out if someone is hurting you, there is always help available. We encourage children to seek assistance when they need it, by calling the Child Helpline — 1325, a free telephone helpline specifically set up so children can call and talk to someone when they are in need.

Save the Children Fiji is dedicated to driving positive change for children across the region, and hopes that in the face of this rise of sexual abuses against children; that individuals, communities, leaders and policy-makers can come together to protect the children of Fiji, and ensure their right to safe, happy and healthy future.