Fiji's Methodist Church 'disturbed' by statistics
Fiji's Methodist Church says the latest statistics into child abuse cases are deeply disturbing and action needs to be taken.
Fiji's Methodist Church says the latest statistics into child abuse cases are very disturbing and action needs to be taken.
The Ministry of Social Welfare says 50 cases have been reported for the month of January.
A spokesperson for the church, Reverend James Bhagwan, told Amelia Langford the church is committed to addressing abuse and violence in Fiji.
JAMES BHAGWAN: We are quite concerned with these statistics, it's just the first month of the year and you know, as far as the church is concerned, fifty cases is fifty cases too many. It's very disturbing and we are also concerned because we know very well, that for every case that is reported there are other cases that continue to go unreported. So the figure is probably not as indicative, it could be quite worse. I am quite happy that, well I don't know if happy is the right word. It's good to know that the ministry of social welfare is raising these and taking this issue very seriously. And we believe that the minister and the ministry have asked for all stakeholders involved, the police, hospitals to report these cases to the ministry so that they can be aware of it. I think in the past it may have not been you know as, as widely reported as it is now.
AMELIA LANGFORD: So what do you think are some of the reasons behind these figures?
JB: Yes we know that it comes on the back of the festive season. And you know we continue to be in society that is struggling is to have people struggling economically and although we have you know fee free education and free textbooks and things like that for the children there is still a lot of struggle within many families to make ends meet. Of course that sort of situation leads to frustration and you know leads to cases of violence. Both domestic violence, spousal abuse and child abuse. We are also concerned because we see that in our own reflection over the last few years, in our own looking at these issues. We feel that there is, tends to be an ignorance of family life obligations and responsibilities. A misunderstanding or neglect of the role of parents, how they should be raising children. And so this is something that we as a church are hoping to work more on over the next few years.
AL: And so what would you like to see, for example the government do here? Does the government need to do more?
JB: Well, you know the government I think is, you can legislate and you can have tough penalties and that sort of thing and they have already a number of years now outlawed corporal punishment in schools. They have, the police have no drop policies and that sort of thing. But its about inculcating certain values and this is perhaps where community organisations, community groups, faith based organisations, religious communities have a very important role. Because we are the ones who teach about, morality about you know, the way that people should behave, people should live. According to our various value systems and faith systems. And so this is perhaps where we need to step up our work.
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