15 Mar 2017

Tongan teacher arrested for beating student

7:08 pm on 15 March 2017

Tongan police say the arrest of a teacher for severely beating a Middle School student sends a message to victims that they can safely report incidents of assault or abuse.

The Central Police Station in Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa.

The Central Police Station in Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa. Photo: RNZI/Gareth Thomas

The teacher was arrested and charged with assault after a call to a local radio station by the child's grandmother triggered an investigation.

Acting Chief Superintendent Tevita Vailea said the student was treated at the hospital and there were signs he had been beaten on the back.

Mr Vailea said the child was threatened with further violence if he reported the incident.

Mr Vailea said teachers punishing students physically is clearly against the law.

He said the police were working with the Women and Children's Crisis Centre to eliminate the violence.

"To make sure that any victim of this kind of crime should have the courage to come forward and also in the long term, to create an environment in school that is more safe and more friendly and welcomes every member of society here," Tevita Vailea said.

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