Fiji calls for child psychologists to help sexual abuse victims

With an increase in child sexual abuse victims in Fiji, there is a call for child psychologists to help these victims, many of whom are left traumatised


An increase in child sexual abuse cases means a need for child psychologists in the country to support victims


Police say there were over 2500 reported cases of sexual assaults in 2015 alone, with a report submitted at the Social Welfare Department's Gatekeepers Forum in North Fiji last year revealing that the department recorded a total of 429 sexual abuse cases from 2011 to 2014.

Dr Reati Mataika, who is also a reporter to the Minister of Health, says the higher number of cases doesn’t mean it’s a recent phenomenon, but that people are more confident in coming forward and reporting cases.

She said her experience in Australia showed her the benefits of having specially trained personnel to deal with infants and youths.

"That's a big gap that we have, having some sort of counselling for the children who are involved. We have a lot of counsellors in Fiji but unfortunately there's no child psychologist."

According to Police Training Officer Southern Linieta Navonu, a 6-month-old baby is the country’s youngest reported victim of sexual abuse, and the youngest offender is a 13-year-old boy.

Navonu says more than 90% of women and children in the country are victims of either sexual abuse or domestic violence.