Girl under State Care after assault by father
It is time to expose child abuse and to act on it - Tabuya

Girl under State Care after assault by father

It is time to expose child abuse and to act on it - Tabuya

By Mansi Chand , Alipate Narawa , Vijay Narayan
Thursday 08/02/2024
Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection, Lynda Tabuya

The 11-year-old girl who was badly beaten up by her father earlier this month, is now under State Emergency Care, where the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Protection will look after her as she does not feel safe at her own home.

After visiting the girl at the Children's Ward at the CWM Hospital, Minister, Lynda Tabuya confirmed that she was stable and recovering from her injuries.

Tabuya says after the trauma, the family members believe that she needs to be at a safe house, and requires proper counselling from a child psychologist.

She has reminded parents and guardians that this kind of behaviour is a crime and this must stop because five out of six children in Fiji face child abuse which is more than what women face.

Tabuya says due to the alarming statistics, they are working with UNICEF and other stakeholders to come up with a National Action Plan to prevent violence against children.

She is also challenging faith-based organisations, Vanua leaders and turaga ni koro to address this at the highest level possible because this behaviour will not be tolerated.

Tabuya is also urging guidance and relatives to speak up on these issues and overcome the culture of fear which is a crime under the Crime Act and if a child dies surrounded by adults who failed in their duties to take care of the child, they can be charged for manslaughter by negligence.

She adds that the child's mother was not at home when the incident occurred.

Tabuya says some people are judging her for posting the video however it is time to do so to let everyone know that this cannot be justified.

A video of the incident is being shared widely on social media while the father has been produced in court and is currently in remand.

The Online Safety Commission has called on people not to share the video as it would add to the trauma experienced by the young girl.

Meanwhile, the 43-year-old father has been charged with Assault Causing Actual Bodily Harm and has appeared in the Nausori Magistrates Court.

Police say the incident occurred on the 2nd of February, 2024.

They say the man, identified as Ratu Kinijoji Katonivere has been remanded and will be produced again in court on the 19th of this month for bail application.

Police say the video surfaced after he was remanded.

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