The Fiji Times

Child negligence


CHILD negligence continues to be the most detected and reported case of child abuse, according to a scoping study on Violence Against Children in Fiji that was conducted by the University of the South Pacific (USP) and Fiji National University (FNU).

The report, which was launched at USP on Tuesday, said there were 239 cases of child negligence recorded for 2018 alone.

“Child neglect remained the most reported or detected cases and the victims are mostly between those under five years to about 12 years,” the report stated.

“Across the span of three years from 2016-2019, it remains as most reported incident and consistent­ly surpassed corporal/ physical punishment, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. It is also pervasive in all the hot spot area with the Central Division reporting the highest prevalence.

“The characteri­stics of child neglect are multiple. They are malnutriti­on of the child, a missing child, abduction, or child begging on the streets. The contributi­ng factors of these are traced to lack of parental/guardian attention and concern with the wellbeing of the child.”

The report said the gender variation study saw that male children were the most neglected compared with females. Ethnicity wise, 73 per cent of these children were iTaukei and 27 per cent were Indo-Fijians.

The report also stated that 76 per cent of these neglected children were Christians, 16 per cent were Hindus and five per cent were Muslims.

The study, which was conducted between 2017 and 2019, also showed that 25 per cent of child abuse perpetrato­rs were between the ages of 11 and 20 years old, 28 per cent between 21 to 30 years, and 28 per cent were men between 31 and 40 years old. For child abuse and child violence, 59 per cent were male perpetrato­rs, 38 per cent were females and three per cent were identified as others.

For domestic violence against children, there were 481 cases recorded between 2017 and 2019, 292 of which were committed by a family member of the child. A total of 49 cases were reported for corporal punishment, 26 of which were carried out by teachers.

There were five cases recorded for act with intent to cause grievous harm, 65 cases of assault occasionin­g actual bodily harm, two cases of physical abuse and 36 cases of verbal abuse.

“These are only reported cases and may increase in volume if all cases are detected/reported and recorded.”

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