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Vuniwaqa: Support Online, Sex Offenders Bills

Vuniwaqa: Support Online, Sex Offenders Bills
Minister for Waterways Mahendra Reddy (left), and Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa in Parliament on April 19, 2018. Photo: Simione Haravanua
April 20
10:00 2018

 

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa has called on Parliament to support the Online Safety Bill and the Registration of Sex Offenders Bill.

The two Bills will be brought before the House in the next Parliament sitting.

Ms Vuniwaqa called for this after Opposition MP and National Federation Party Leader Biman Prasad acknowledged the data showed by the ministry in relation to child sexual abuse. He asked the minister if it was time as legislators to have a parliamentary inquiry to find out the cause of the high number of abuse and if she would support this.

Ms Vuniwaqa responded that the ministry was happy with the current initiative.

“With the Bills before the House and we look forward to the support of the House on the two Bills and I’m referring to Register of Sexual Offenders Bill and the Online Safety Bill.”

Government Whip Ashneel Sudhakar said the recent data given by the ministry showed that a total of 292 cases of Child Sexual Abuse had been reported under the Child Welfare Act from January to November in 2017.

He asked Ms Vuniwaqa if she could further elaborate on the trends in child abuse in the past five years.

Ms Vuniwaqa said the data being referred to were calls received from children, authorities, caregivers through the Child Helpline 1325 number, under the reporting obligations of the Child Welfare Act.

She said from 2012-2017, the ministry received a total of 4566 cases and out of this the year 2017 recorded the highest of 1145 cases.

She said the cases included not only sexual abuse, but also child neglect, physical abuse, children whose parents can’t control them, emotional psychological abuse, children left unsupervised in homes and those who have absconded from residential homes.

Ms Vuniwaqa said the cases varied, but statistics for the year 2017 registered the highest number of call. She said other departments such as the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Police and Non-Government Organisation had separate data and most cases were before the court.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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