NEWS

Ministry Hints Background Checks for Counsellors

A thorough background check needs to be conducted on counsellors, who deal with children directly or indirectly, says the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation children services assistant director Ela
28 Jan 2018 10:09
Ministry Hints Background Checks for  Counsellors
From left: UNICEF Pacific social policy officer Talei Cama, senior human rights trainer (Vanuatu) Romulo Nayacalevu, and assistant director child services Ela Tukutukulevu from the Ministry of Women, Poverty Alleviation and Children at the Kingdom International Legal Network Inaugural Conference 2018 at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island in Nadi on January 27, 2018. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa

thorough background check needs to be conducted on counsellors, who deal with children directly or indirectly, says the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation children services assistant director Ela Tukutukulevu.

Speaking at the Kingdom International Legal Network inaugural conference at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island in Nadi yesterday, Ms Tukutukulevu said there was a definite need for quality assurance on counselling, especially for children who were victims of sexual abuse.

The meeting was attended by law practitioners from Kenya, Australia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji.

“Out of the 10 residential homes we have dealt with only eight are administered by religious organisations,” she said.

“We need to have checks on those people who work directly and indirectly with children.”

A topical issue discussed at the conference was that of child abuse these days occurring within the vicinity of religious groups, homes and in places where victims thought they were safe.

Ms Tukutukulevu said the ministry has encouraged organisations to be mandatory on child abuse reports even though sometimes they failed to do this.

“Sometimes, agencies fail in providing in-depth report on child abuses upon request,” she said.

“It’s about time that Fiji starts adopting practices used in other countries in the area of children services because our little ones need to stay in a society where they feel safe.”

Ms Tukutukulevu said the problem in Fiji is we do not have qualified counsellors who deal specifically in these areas.

Sharing similar sentiments, lawyer Nancy Loaloa said institutions needed to be examined and thoroughly checked on child protection policies.

“We need to do this for categorised informal counselling, make background checks on these counsellors and volunteers who deal with child protection,” Ms Loaloa said.

“Check on their Police records, previous criminal convictions and even family background.”

Fiji might not have the resources, but Ms Loaloa said people couldn’t afford to turn a blind eye to something that involved the safety of our children.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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