Report by: Praneeta Prakash
Fijians are being urged to contact the child help line to assist children who are being abused.
This as the increasing number of sex related crimes against children is becoming a major concern for the authorities.
The Child Services Unit has recorded seventy-six sexual abuse cases between January and July this year.
Child Services Unit Director, Ela Tukutukulevu says people should take action to assist children who are becoming victims of sexual abuse.
“If they are aware of you know children being violated, children who are being abused if they can call the child help line which is 1325 there are counselors at the end of the line who will be listening and referring.”
Save the Children Chief Executive, Iris Low-McKenzie is also calling on parents to be more responsible.
"No child no matter what circumstances deserves physically or sexually abused and we as parents and guardians of children we have to ensure that we doing all we can to protect our children such heinous crimes."
Meanwhile, in 2017, the youngest sexual abuse victim was one-year ten months old. The average age of the youngest victim is six years.
Fiji, a country in the South Pacific, is an archipelago of more than 300 islands. It's famed for rugged landscapes, palm-lined beaches and coral reefs with clear lagoons. Its major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, contain most of the population. Total population is around 900,000. Viti Levu is home to the capital, Suva, a port city with British colonial architecture.
The Bombay high court has upheld conviction and 10 year imprisonment of a man in connection with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court has upheld conviction and 10 year imprisonment of a man in connection with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl. The court observed that in India, no parents would falsely implicate any person claiming that their minor daughter was sexually assaulted.
A special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) court in Pune had convicted Rajendra Asudeo and sentenced him to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. Asudeo had challenged this order in the high court. His lawyer had argued that, he had been falsely implicated in the case at the instance of a local leader. However, the judge had convicted him for aggravated penetrative sexual assault on the victim.
Justice A.M. Badar while dismissing Asud-eo’s appeal observed, “In India, no mother would falsely implicate against someone in sexual assault on her daughter, at the instance of local leader. ”
The stigma that goes with child sexual abuse would make such a thing unthinkable in Indian society.
amid church sex abuse scandal
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Archbishop of Santiago Ricardo Ezzati said on Saturday that he would not lead Chile´s Te Deum, an annual religious ceremony attended by the country´s top politicians and clergy, amid a church sex abuse scandal that has sent shockwaves through the conservative Catholic nation.
Ezzati, who has long led the ceremony and is among Chile´s most recognized religious figures, said in a statement he thought it "prudent that he not lead the traditional Te Deum" given the "profound crisis that the Church is undergoing."
Chilean law enforcement is investigating 38 accusations of sexual abuse against 73 bishops, clerics and lay workers, involving 104 victims. It is among the most aggressive investigations of the Church undertaken by any judicial authority.
Chilean prosecutors in late July named Ezzati as a suspect in an investigation into claims that he and other clergy covered up child sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church, and have summoned him to testify.
Ezzati maintained his innocence in his statement on Saturday.
"I am certain that I have never covered up or obstructed justice and I will comply with my responsibilities as a citizen to provide all of the antecedents necessary to get to the truth," Ezzati said.
How is it possible that so many horrendous acts occurred in your jurisdiction and you were not somehow complicit? Impossible!
Ezatti´s announcement comes one day after local Church leaders asked forgiveness for the sexual abuse of children committed by clergy and agreed to open their files and step up coordination with Chilean prosecutors investigating the cases.
Police in June seized documents from the ecclesiastical court of the diocese of Santiago and have since conducted surprise raids of Church offices throughout the country, sending Chile´s bishops and the Vatican scrambling to respond.
The crisis has rattled Chile's catholic church since 2011, when Chilean priest Fernando Karadima was found guilty by the Vatican of abusing children in the 1970s and 1980s.
Accusations of sex abuse against various members of the Catholic Church led Pope Francis to open an investigation in the South American country that has led the Church to oust bishops and other priests accused of carrying out or covering up abuses against minors.
A majority of teenagers who commit sexual offences have a history of contact with the youth justice system for non-sexual offences, a new study has found.
Both adolescents and adults surveyed tended to first sexually abuse someone well known to them where a relationship already existed.
Just 5 per cent of teenagers surveyed and 8 per cent of adults said their victim was a stranger.
The institute surveyed 215 adolescents who committed sexual offences before they turned 18 and 144 adults charged with child sex offences.
While three-quarters of teenagers had been charged with previous offences, only 41 per cent of adults surveyed had history with the youth justice system.
"This fits with theorising that sexually abusive behaviour at this stage of development may coincide with the onset of puberty and curiosity at this peak risk period, particularly for those males who already have a broader involvement in antisocial and illegal activities," the report said.
"Such activities are characterised by coercion, deception, rule-breaking and exploitation of others, all of which are also characteristics of sexual abuse."
The report also found 72 per cent of teenagers and 71 per cent of adults surveyed were maltreated as a child.
More than 30 per cent of both demographics were mistreated both sexually and non-sexually, according to the study.
"A larger proportion of the adolescent-onset group reported experiences of non-sexual abuse, while a larger proportion of the adult-onset group reported sexual abuse," the report said.
"These findings reiterate previous propositions that adverse developmental experiences are common in the background of offenders."
The institute's report comes as recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show there has been a 35 per cent increase in sexual offences committed by adolescents since 2008.
"A higher proportion of incidents by adolescent offenders occurred when others were close by and most times this was an adult," the report said.
"They are more likely to be around children under circumstances of adult supervision compared to adults, who may have sole care-giving roles.
"More adult witnesses intervened with adolescents than with adults."
The report recommended investing in the prevention and early intervention for both demographics.
"The fact that most offenders knew their victim...indicates possible opportunities for both offenders or concerned others to seek help before or during the early stages of sexual abuse," the report said.
"For adolescents, school-based programs that addresses issues of consent, sexual ethics, coercion and misperceptions of sexual behaviour should be considered as a primary prevention initiative."
Sounds like they are advocating more conservative-like behaviour!
The religious group has been under fire for its widespread practice of having numerous sexual abuse cases adjudicated by the so-called "elders," who apparently often fail to report them to officials.
Samet G, 31, a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses in the Netherlands, got a suspended 9-month sentence and a fine last week for the sexual abuse of his niece when she was between 4 and 14 years old, RTL Nieuws reports, citing court documents.
During the investigation, Jehovah's Witnesses had reportedly refused to give Dutch prosecutors a copy of a confession that the suspected perpetrator made in 2011, citing privacy concerns and claiming that its elders cannot be forced to disclose it.
This refusal to cooperate has provoked a backlash from human rights advocates and officials. "If we can't get the files via the courts we need politicians to act. Someone must force the Jehovah's Witnesses to hand them over," Frank Huiting, spokesman for Reclaimed Voices, an organization that helps survivors of child sex abuse inside the Jehovah's Witnesses group, told RTL.
Madeleine van Toorenburg, a Christian Democratic Appeal MP, has asked the legal protection minister to look into the right of the church to deny access to the important documents. "This shows that there is a culture of silence and cover-up, and they do not take responsibility," she said.
Jehovah's Witnesses are known to have their own committees that judge alleged sexual perpetrators internally and the police don't get involved in their proceedings. They are believed to be keeping records of these proceedings but won't reveal them.
This practice of handling sexual abuse 'in house' has been a hotly debated issue in recent years. This March, The Guardian disclosed allegations of child sex abuse in Jehovah's Witnesses' from more than 100 former and current members. According to them, the elders bullied victims into keep silent about mistreatment.
In 2015, it emerged that the Australia Branch of Jehovah's Witnesses had records of 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse, with cases dating back to 1950; the organization, however, didn't report any of them to police.
The pedophile priest at the centre of a Nova Scotia class-action lawsuit was one of the worst child abusers in this country's history, the lawyer filing the notice of action says.
George Epoch died in 1986 with his name publicly unblemished. But John McKiggan of the Halifax law firm McKiggan Hebert said the Jesuit Fathers of Upper Canada paid more than 100 victims of Epoch's abuse in Ontario alone over the next decade.
"He's likely one of the most prolific sexual abusers in Canadian history," McKiggan said.
McKiggan filed a notice of action to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Halifax-Yarmouth Thursday, informing them he was filing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of one of Epoch's alleged victims in Nova Scotia. The diocese said it condemns all sexual abuse and makes "a sincere attempt to do the right thing by way of the victims and achieve an appropriate and fair settlement for established claims."
McKiggan expects more claimants to come forward. The Ontario abuse happened in the 1970s and 1980s; the Nova Scotia allegation dates to the early 1960s.
'He was an evil man'
Mark Handelman is a health-law lawyer with Whaley Estate Litigation in Toronto. In 1994, he worked with Epoch's victims from his time as priest on the Cape Croker and Saugeen First Nations in Ontario. Cape Croker is now called the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation
"I learned he was an evil man who abused children," Handelman said Friday. "He was the priest. He had as much trust as any other priest, and in my view more, because of the vulnerable population he served."
News reports from 1994 noted that while he was alive, Epoch was viewed in the general public as a wonderful Christian who doted on children, especially the altar boys.
He was known to be generous, offering money to those in need and sheltering kids in times of trouble. But victims later revealed that he plied them with cigarettes and candy and offered them his own bed. The boys reported waking up to find the naked priest on top of them.
His earliest Ontario victims were becoming adults as the big man lay dying of a chronic heart condition. They began to speak the truth about him, and those voices increased after he died in 1986 on Manitoulin Island.
Handelman said the way Epoch chose his victims deepened the damage. Epoch was pastor at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Cape Croker between 1972 and 1983. He often abused boys who were fleeing violent homes and seeking safety in his arms.
"Imagine your father getting violent when he gets drunk and being sent for safety by your mother to a priest that you're supposed to be able to trust as a man of God — and instead of being trustworthy, he is an abuser," Handelman said.
"It's particularly upsetting because most frequently these children were sent to Father Epoch because their parents were all victims of the residential school system."
Victims devastated by abuse
Handelman said many of Epoch's Ontario victims lived in poverty and came from unstable homes, increasing the damage he caused as he targeted the most vulnerable.
Many forever lost trust in the church, fell out of school, and did worse in life than they would have if he had helped them, he said. At least one took his own life, leaving behind a grieving family.
"It's clear that the Jesuits and the church protected Father Epoch instead of their congregants and the members of the church and that is an absolute heartbreak," he said. "I wonder between the 60s and the 90s, where he had other victims along the way? The church protected him and many dozens of people paid that price."
Handelman said his files on Epoch were shredded years ago. "I wish I could shred the memories that he brings back," he said. He remembers something one of his clients said when discussing the settlement. Some people in the Jesuit organization had expressed concerns about the amount of money going to the victims.
"He looked at me and said the Pope has a big hat. Let him take a collection in the Vatican. And if he has to, he can sell some art."