41 percent of child abuse/violence committed by family members

41 percent of child abuse/violence committed by family members

By Alipate Narawa
Thursday 28/09/2023

41 percent of perpetrators of child abuse/violence is committed by family members according to the recently released “Violence Against Children In Fiji” commissioned by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Protection.

This is followed closely by no perpetrator/truant child with 15 percent and then relatives at 9 percent while friends come in with 8 percent.

The report says the silence that accompanies these abuses within homes and from which family member-perpetrators hope to, and are sure to they can, conceal their acts is shown in the low number of reporting provided by victims.

It also noted that only about 29 percent of children reported to other adults within the home setting of being hurt, 13 percent of being called names and 9 percent of being touched.

The perpetrators are always in positions of authority - positions which carry responsibility of bringing up a child ‘to be good,’ become of ‘good character ‘and ‘respectful.’

The report says that it also provides the cover under which abuse with impunity occurs, where this impunity is usually the ‘security’ provided through the deep-seated norms such as tradition, custom or the sole breadwinner status of the perpetrator.

It appears however that ‘security’ as a driver of abuse may be on the decline.

A recent report by the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement noted that factors such as customary forms of reconciliation are decreasingly referred to by judicial officers and same with cases in High Court judgements in rape cases.

The report says sexual abuse of children continues to dominate the media reports and conceal the other types of abuses which prevail within the home-setting.

Of these, child neglect remains the most prevalent between the years 2016-2019 according to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Protection and the Child Welfare Unit.

Incidents of child neglect and other abuses (Figure 5A & 5B) were reported mostly from homes in the central region (Figure 6) and among iTaukei families as shown below (Figure 7).

The report also states that sexual abuse and domestic violence occur at about the same rate and is the 2nd highest form of abuse besides child neglect.

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