SUVA – An alarming number of reports of sexual offences against children, particularly young girls, were received by police between August and September to date this year.
Stations from the major divisions ù Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern and Central divisions, received 22 reports of offences allegedly committed on students and young girls.
Police spokeswoman Theresa Ralogaivau said the emergence of reports, some dated, also saw the revival of the 40 neighbourhood watch committees and 28 community posts in the Western Division.
Majority of the cases were reported to have occurred in the Northern and Western divisions, and the north recorded the youngest victim, a two-year old girl.
Police anticipate an increase in the number of reported sexual offence cases against young girls and boys as they intensify their nationwide awareness on the issue.
The Fiji Times has established that of the 22 cases: seven were reported in the north, seven in the west, and the Eastern Division received six reports, and two from the Southern Division. Statistics obtained by this newspaper revealed victims’ ages between two years old to 19 years.
And of the 22 reports, 16 were that of alleged crime committed on school students in village schools and rural communities.
Last month, police upped the tempo on their fight against sexual crimes against children when they launched Operation School targeting the 163 primary and 35 secondary schools in the north in their awareness drive.
The Northern Division alone recorded 156 sexual offences up to June last year and 117 cases for the same period this year.
“From the reports, we are also noting an increase in sexual offences in ethnic Indian communities so our efforts will focus on creating as much awareness on the issue. We will conduct house to house visits, community to community and village to village visits,” Ms Ralogaivau said.
“We actually expect an increase in the number of reports of sexual offences as we intensify awareness.
“There will be reports of cases coming up and those reported cases measure the effectiveness of the awareness.”