by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
During the opening of the National Youth Dialogue in Suva, Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said sexual assault cases against children have become a phenomenon in Fiji.
According to Dr. Reati Mataika, a paediatrician at the Colonial War Memorial, child sexual abuse has seen an increase in the country and is affecting many children.
While detecting of victims earlier has been a challenge for many, Dr. Mataika says more awareness is needed to highlight this issue and help the locals.
Amongst the cases, most children have been exposed to this abuse for months and even years, while some been very brutal.
Dr. Mataika added that some very young victims have been identified to have HIV.
While efforts are invested into combating the issue, Sayed-Khaiyum says there are a lot of gaps that needed to be addressed, particularly in the area of counseling.
Places where most of these happen are found to be homes by extended family members or non-relations such as step-fathers.
With the increasing cases, Dr. Mataika says there is a need for more awareness to help the locals.