Chew acknowledges barriers faced by children in reporting crimes

Chew acknowledges barriers faced by children in reporting crimes

By Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 15/05/2024
Acting Commissioner of Police, Juki Fong Chew

Acting Commissioner of Police, Juki Fong Chew says they concur that there are still various barriers faced by children in reporting crimes, which is why they have, through their community policing arm, adopted child-friendly approaches to encourage the sharing of information.

A Save The Children report titled ‘A Pacific Regional Child Protection Situational Analysis’ has found that 46 percent of children surveyed would not disclose an experience of violence.

According to the report, 8 percent would not report at all while 38 percent are very likely not to report.

It states that the Fiji Police Force has in place policy commitments to refer cases to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Protection, where children may be at risk of violence, and to respond to all complaints of gender-based violence through the ‘No Drop Policy’.

The report says notwithstanding these commitments, there are reported gaps in implementing the policies and similarly, analysis has found gaps in the treatment of child victims, highlighting the need for training on child protection services across the police force.

While responding to questions by fijivillage News, the Acting Commissioner says their child-friendly approaches include the Crimestoppers Scholastic Program launched in a number of secondary schools around the country, and recently, they have revived the Blue Light Camp, which was held in Ba last week, as they understand that they can only fully appreciate a child’s needs from their perspective, and have been working with the Ministry of Education through such engagement programmes.

Chew says they have a dedicated juvenile bureau that not only conducts investigations but as a proactive means, conducts awareness in schools, and through the media and community awareness.

He says as for training, they have and are working with Save the Children and other stakeholders in their collective bid to end violence against children in Fiji working with a shared goal of protecting boys and girls from all forms of violence within families and communities.

The Acting Commissioner says noting the trends in crimes against children, they have also engaged their international and regional law enforcement partners in combating online child exploitation.

Chew says they continue to call for community partnership in addressing crimes against children as no child should ever endure the trauma of being a victim of crime.

He says this is also reflected in the strengthening of their internal processes, whereby reports of laxity in the handling of domestic violence and gender-based violence cases are taken seriously, with due processes followed, and internal disciplinary action taken against officers involved.

He adds they look forward to the sharing of these findings in detail by Save the Children so they can identify and improve on areas they have highlighted.

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