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Child Helpline gets calls about child abuse from March-April

Child Helpline gets calls about child abuse from March-April

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 05/05/2020
Minister for Women Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa

126 calls was received by the National Child Helpline between March and April this year and 67% of the callers were children, some of whom reported about child abuse.

Minister for Women Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa says of all the calls, 73% of the reports were children related.

She says 25% of the calls were specifically on child abuse and 23% were COVID-19 related.

Vuniwaqa says of the 25% child abuse reports of the children related reports, cases of physical and sexual violence stood at 54.3%, emotional violence stood at 28.2% and neglect stood at 17.4%.

She further says 75% of the referrals were made to the Child Services Unit, 23% to Fiji Police Force, and 2% to other service providers on the ground.

Medical Services Pacific Country Director Ashna Shaleen says amidst intensifying COVID-19 containment measures, children are at a heightened risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence.

She says Medical Services Pacific clinics and counsellors continue to receive referrals from the Fiji Police Force Sexual Offence Unit.

Shaleen says the survivors are predominantly children with the youngest being a 3-month old infant.

They are urging parents and guardians to respond to their child’s reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns, and give them extra love and attention.

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