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250 Fiji communities trained on keeping children safe from abuse


09:00, December 12, 2011

SUVA, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Save the Children Fiji said here Monday that this year the organization has trained over 250 communities in five districts on keeping children safe from abuse and sexual offences.

The group's communications officer Chandra Prakash Singh told media that they have trained communities in almost all parts of Fiji whereby people have been asked to participate in workshops and present on how they can react to child abuse cases.

Singh said by doing this they have prepared these communities to have an instant reaction to such serious issues regarding children which includes child trafficking also and these are topics people without proper awareness can be lost in.

During these trainings, farmers, community police officers, non- government organization officials, mother's clubs and religious groups participated and acquired knowledge from trained professionals and could therefore help themselves when these situations struck.

The organization has planned to host more of the training programs.

It has been found in the island nation that a large number of rape and other sexual abuse cases being reported to police were now actually happening within the family unit.

According to the police, this was a new trend and the perpetrators of such offences were related to the victims in some manner almost all the time.

Apart from laying charges against them, police could not do much on such emotional crimes, as they happened within homes, which were usually rife during Christmas and festive seasons.

A recent report, prepared for UNICEF, found that girls in Fiji and the Pacific as a whole are often sexually abused when they leave their immediate families to stay with relatives.

"For example in Fiji, a survey of children who were living with their extended families while attending school found that of girls who dropped out of school, 26 per cent reported having been sexually abused by relatives while living away from home,"says the report.

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