Sex Violence On Girls, Women In Fiji ‘Most Prevalent, Widespread’

Minister Vuniwaqa urging Fijians not to turn a blind eye to sexual abuse.
24 Aug 2020 12:37
Sex Violence On Girls, Women In Fiji ‘Most Prevalent, Widespread’
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

Sexual violence against women and girls, domestic violence and intimate partner violence are the most prevalent or widespread forms of violence against women and girls in Fiji.

This is according to the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, who was responding to questions about sexual offences against women and children in the country.

Ms Vuniwaqa said the National Action Plan (NAP) to Prevent Violent Against all Women and Girls (2021-2026) would focus on addressing and preventing the issues.

“In order to solve a national problem; there must be an evidenced-based and shared understanding among Fijians for what caused it,” she said.

“The National Action Plan will explain, using data and evidence, what the root cause of violence against all women and girls is in Fiji, and what additional contributing factors that make the violence more likely to happen.”

Ms Vuniwaqa said the increase in reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence was a good indicator of shifts in attitudes in our society.

She said people were breaking free from the culture of silence in relation to violence, including sexual offences and reporting the matter.

“I would like to only encourage all Fijians to not turn a blind eye when they see abuse happening – not ignore such a scenario saying, ‘it’s their personal matter’,” she said.

“Sexual abuse and domestic violence are criminal acts and it is not a personal matter. If you see it happening, report it.

“Violence against women and girls, including sexual offences, is rooted in gender-based discrimination, social norms, cultural attitudes and gender stereotypes that perpetuate such violence.”

Ms Vuniwaqa said the Government would work with all relevant stakeholders towards a society free from violence.

To report cases of sexual abuse and violence, you can toll-free National Helplines – Child Helpline 1325 and Domestic Violence Helpline 1560 whereby callers are assisted through a referral system.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola


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