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Editorial: Enough is enough, Let’s be accountable, Protect our children

Childhood should be a time of innocence in a safe, secure environment. Sadly, recent statistics reveal an alarming trend of child abuse and neglect. The Office of the Director of
10 Nov 2018 12:13
Editorial: Enough is enough, Let’s be accountable, Protect our children

Childhood should be a time of innocence in a safe, secure environment. Sadly, recent statistics reveal an alarming trend of child abuse and neglect.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution reported over 300 cases of rape and sexual offences on children during the eight months period from January to August of this year.

This means that for the past eight months, more than one child were either neglected and abused each day.

These statistics would make any parent or guardian cringe. Its sickening to imagine that this is happening in our communities, and sometimes right under our noses. Often, those who perpetrated these crimes are supposed to be pillars of trust, goodness and mercy.

The victims are robbed of their innocence and childhood and the deep psychological trauma they often suffer may last a lifetime.

Global initiatives like the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, or PCAN  help remind us of our responsibility. Observed globally in November every year, PCAN is a world-wide effort to mobilise collective responsibility to prevent and confront all forms of child abuse and neglect.

As part of the initiative, President Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote launched the “Charlie the Child Helpline Turtle”.

“Charlie the Child Helpline Turtle” is the mascot that will help children easily identify with efforts to provide a safe environment for them.

This helpline is slightly different from the Child Help Line that was launched in 2015. According to the Medical Services Pacific, it was found that the Child Help Line was used mostly by adults to report on child cases.

“Charlie the Child Helpline Turtle” concept is designed to encourage children themselves to use the helpline to call and voice their concerns.

Such initiatives are encouraging. Government working alongside development partners and key stakeholders. At the national level they are putting in the effort for the development and the advancement of child protection legislation and policies.

But how these policies translate to action and the protection and care of our young depends on us. We have to hold ourselves and others accountable.  Accountable to the laws that govern us. But moreso, accountable to our morals, ethics and basic sense of decemcy.

The theme of the PCAN 2018 launch is, “Stronger Families, Safer Children”.

If you’re a parent or guardian, let’s agree together that enough is enough. Only your conscience will tell you if you’re neglecting your God-given responsibility.

Let’s double our efforts to provide a safe environment for our children to live carefree and happy lives.

ROSI DOVIVERATA

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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