Child rape ‘crisis’

Save the Children Fiji CEO Shairana Ali. Picture: SUPPLIED / FT FILE

Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur says the rape of children by close relatives in Fiji is reaching epidemic proportions.

He said this in a judgment where he upheld a 13-year jail term with a non-parole period of 11 years for a perpetrator who raped a child.

Save the Children Fiji (SCF) CEO Shairana Ali said Fiji must do better to protect our children in a statement where she commended Justice Lokur’s decision.

She said every child had the right to be protected from harm, to feel safe, and well-cared for, so that they could thrive. Ms Ali said the abuse of children must stop.

“When children are hurt, especially by the people who they most trust, the damaging impact on their health and wellbeing is a lifelong one,” she said.

“We must do better for our children in Fiji by creating safe and nurturing environments for them to feel loved and protected from all forms of abuse.”

Gender-based violence figures from the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD) shows that 70 per cent of victims of sexual violence in Fiji are children and more than 72 per cent of the perpetrators were known to the victims or related.

Recent statistics on rape and sexual offences from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions also revealed that out of the 24 victims recorded last month, 12 were under the age of 18 years.

Ms Ali said SCF was gravely concerned about the safety of children in Fiji and called on parents and families to be extra vigilant in keeping their children safe and to supervise them at all times, even when they were around people known to them.

“Keeping children safe is everyone’s job, we need to create spaces to talk about what’s happening with our children and take proactive measures to protect children whether they are in their homes, at school, church, mosque or temple, playground and public or private places.”

More Stories