NATION

Minister Highlights Child Abuse Records

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation has recorded 787 child abuse cases from August 2016 to April 2017. This was highlighted by the Minister, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, during the
03 Jun 2017 11:00
Minister Highlights Child Abuse Records
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa (sitting third from left), with participants during the National Co-ordinating Committee on Children “West Children’s Symposium” at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel in Lautoka on June 1, 2017. Photo: Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation has recorded 787 child abuse cases from August 2016 to April 2017.

This was highlighted by the Minister, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, during the National Co-ordinating Committee on Children “West Children’s Symposium” at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel in Lautoka on Thursday.

Ms Vuniwaqa said: “The highest number of cases reported in March 2017, and the highest number of cases were recorded from the South Eastern Division overall.

“Since the enactment of the Child Welfare Decree 2010, my ministry has seen an increase in the number of reported cases of child abuse and neglect.

“Statistics show an increase of 34 per cent from 2014-2015, highlighting the need for us to come together to fight this scourge that is now threatening our communities,” she said.

Ms Vuniwaqa said almost every week they heard of cases in the news of children who were sexually abused.

“We cannot allow ourselves to be desensitised by the frequency of these reporting. We also cannot allow such issues to phase out,” she said.

“We must be indignant to such incidents as it should never be the norm in our communities and we must ensure as a community, as a nation that we make effort to address it.”

Ms Vuniwaqa said the fight against child abuse started at home.

“We must ask ourselves, ‘What can we do to protect our children?’ Not only that, we must create that environment of love and acceptance so that our children can grow up knowing that they are actually gifts from God.

“We must extend that fight to our neighbourhoods, to our streets, to our villages and communities,” she said.

Ms Vuniwaqa said it must be everybody’s business to protect and love our children.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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