NEWS

Abuse Reports Go To Police

Fifty cases of alleged child abuse have been referred to Police. They were identified and documented from 1851 calls received since the launching of the National Child Helpline toll free
14 Jun 2015 14:08
Abuse Reports Go To Police

Fifty cases of alleged child abuse have been referred to Police.

They were identified and documented from 1851 calls received since the launching of the National Child Helpline toll free number 1325 in April.

Some of the cases:

– A neighbour in the Central Division heard screams from next door. When he investigated, he found a mother whacking her child. He tried to intervene but the mother told him in iTaukei, “You have no say. This is my child. I have the right to discipline him.” Social Welfare officers investigated. The bruised child was taken to hospital for examination. The child is believed to be still with the mother.

– In Ra, a complaint was lodged by a school. Teachers spotted a student coming to school with bruises. Investigations by Social Welfare officers found the father had been beating the child. The child was taken to hospital. It is not known whether the child is still with the parents or with other members of the family.

– Couple separated. The husband lived with their child and was accused of beating the child. Social Welfare officers investigated and placed the child with the mother.

– A 14-year-old girl rang from a Suva Park one night. She claimed she had been sexually abused early in life. She was seeking counselling on what to do. Social Welfare counsellors are trying to gain her confidence and to get her to open up more.

ACP Henry Brown, Police chief of intelligence and investigations, said he would comment today. The Police, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Medical Services Pacific (MSP), Digicel, Vodafone and Telecom Fiji Limited are partners in this project.

The Helpline service has been hailed a success by ministry staff because of the initial response. A detailed report will be available next week.

Rosy Akbar, the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, said: “We will not tolerate any form of abuse and violence against women and children.’’

“There is a no-drop policy,” she said.

“The zero-tolerance was to ensure the wellbeing of children was not compromised in any case.”

She said with the Helpline the ministry had made interventions in 50 cases so far and referrals had been made to the Fiji Police, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.

“The Social Welfare officers have also made home visits into some of these cases to talk to the parents and children, to carry out their assessment reports,” she said.

“Interactions have also been made with the families in terms of providing counselling services and finding the best means to ensure the welfare of these families.

“The cases reported varied and interesting to note that callers are not just parents and children but also concerned neighbours. This is indeed a positive sign that people are aware and taking action to stop violence and abuse in their communities. The ministry is encouraging families and communities to make use of the Helpline 1325 to report cases and also seek advice on any issue relating to children protection and welfare in Fiji,” Ms Akbar said.

Feedback: aqela.susu@fijisun.com.fj


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