21 Apr 2015

Fiji Methodists welcome child helpline

8:22 pm on 21 April 2015

The Methodist Church of Fiji says the launch of the country's first Child helpline will be a great service for the community.

The Child Helpline was launched by the Minister for Women and Children Rosy Akbar last week.

The 24 hour helpline provides services for children seeking counseling, advice, referrals to other services and to report abuse.

Cell phone.

Photo: PHOTO NZ

In partnership with other churches, the Fiji Methodist Church helps to run the country's only other existing support phone service called Lifeline.

A spokesperson for the Church James Bhagwan says the service will help those children who are seeking help but may not be linked to church or community groups.

"For those who don't have that sort of pastoral safety net in their community, this is a very good way to be able to reach out and find someone who has the right training and the right abilities to be able to provide that counselling and that support."

Meanwhile, the Director of Fiji Lifeline says there is a definite need for an exclusive helpline service for Children.

Anchana Mani says Lifeline, which is usually accessed by adults and is the only other existing phone support service in Fiji, often recieves calls from adults on behalf of children as well as calls directly from children themselves.

"Because of the number of issues that are coming up in the community with regards to child protection and there needs to be an additional avenue for young people and for children to actually reach out and really know where they can go for help."

The Minister of Women and Children, Rosy Akbar, says the establishment of the Helpline fulfills one of the recommendations given to Fiji by the Committee on the Conventions of the Rights of The Child by providing an avenue for children to be heard.