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700 cases of child abuse in Fiji in 2018

700 cases of child abuse were recorded in Fiji in 2019. - Photo: Save the Children

More than 700 cases of child abuse were recorded in Fiji in 2018, the Child Services department says.

The department's assistant director, Ela Tukutukulevu, said nine cases had been recorded so far this year.

Last year's cases included child negligence, physical and sexual abuse and child labour, she said.

The director of the Women's Crisis Centre, Shamima Ali, said about 80 percent of the abusers were known to the children.

"Of that, 50 percent are relatives so we're seeing a lot of abuse by uncles, by fathers, by step-fathers, by grandfathers which is quite shocking and is of great concern," Ms Ali said.

"We're working very closely with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions who is referring children to us for counselling, preparing them for court."

Ms Ali called on all stakeholders to work together to end what she described as a crisis.

The Social Welfare and Child Services Department found that negligence topped the 2018 list with 226 cases, followed by 149 cases of physical abuse and 130 of sexual abuse.

"We have been receiving cases mostly from the hospitals," Ms Tukutukulevu said.

"What we do is we refer to the various welfare officers in the areas and welfare officers are the ones that go down to the ground and investigate, talk to parents and try to encourage them on the care of children."

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