FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10th January 2024.
Save the Children Fiji is deeply concerned about the shocking and highly disturbing surge in reported cases of sexual offences against children, as highlighted in the December 2023 Rape and Sexual Offences Statistics released by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).
The alarming data reveals a distressing pattern of abuse, with nine individuals facing a total of 44 charges related to sexual offenses in December alone. Of these charges, 33 were recorded as rape, four as indecent assault, and three as sexual assault. Additionally, particular concern is the fact that half of the incidents involved victims who were known or related to the perpetrators.
According to the ODPP report, two of the nine individuals charged were juveniles, emphasizing the pressing need for support systems to address the root causes of such behavior. Of the 10 victims identified, five were under the age of 18, with two males and eight females affected. These cases underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address and prevent sexual violence against children.
Save the Children Fiji’s Chief Executive Officer, Shairana Ali, stated that the cases of violence against children and in particular, sexual violence afflicted on children point to a deeper problem within society. There is a total breakdown of morality, and it is unacceptable for such heinous crimes against children to become the norm. We urge a swift and comprehensive effort by the entire community to denounce these offenses in the harshest terms possible, to impose heavier penalties on those who commit them, and to increase funding for organizations that regularly assist communities in creating safe spaces for children.
SC Fiji is committed to working collaboratively with the government, law enforcement agencies, and communities to address the root causes of child sexual abuse and enhance protective mechanisms. SC Fiji calls for urgent and concerted efforts to strengthen the legal framework, improve access to support services for survivors, and raise awareness to prevent the devastating impact of sexual violence on children.
SC Fiji remains steadfast in its mission to ensure the safety, well-being, and dignity of every child and will continue to advocate for policies and programs that protect children from all forms of abuse and exploitation such as the Collective Action to End Violence Against Children (CAEVAC) Program that currently run awareness programs in 24 communities 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.
For more information, please send us an email on Info.Fiji@savethechildren.org or contact us at +(679) 3313178