20 Aug 2011

UNICEF welcomes Fiji police initiative to combat child sex abuse in country

8:43 am on 20 August 2011

The child advocacy group UNICEF says culture and tradition is no excuse to avoid talking about protecting children from abuse.

UNICEF Pacific's chief of child protection, Johanna Eriksson-Takyo, says her agency welcomes a recent police initiative to combat child sex abuse in Fiji.

She says taboos need to be overcome by everyone in all communities.

Johanna Eriksson-Takyo says recent meetings with the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs and traditional leaders revealed less resistance and a new willingness to start talking about the sensitive problem of abuse.

She says sexual abuse is a difficult topic to address in all societies and culture is not a reason to ignore the matter.

"Often it's used as an excuse, that tradition and culture as an excuse not to do something about the child protection problems from the violence and abuse of children. But I think we've also been quite encouraged here in Fiji where traditional leaders even are coming on board and are showing an increased willingness to talk about the issue."

Johanna Eriksson-Takyo says UNICEF is working closely with the Fiji police to address a broad range of child protection issues.