Dear Ms. Philpot,
We consider the following to be urgent requirements for the protection of children in the adoption process, and for protection of children from sexual abuse.
Reform of laws relating to rape and sexual abuse of children
Including sexual abuse of boys within the definition of rape and sexual assault. Doing away with consent and “appearance over 16″ defenses for rape of children.
(2) Gender sensitivity training of judges and magistrates
(3) Introduction of child friendly procedures in court, particularly victim impact statements, use of video conferencing, screening of children from accused/abusers
Special juvenile courts/specially trained judicial officers in all
cases involving children
Tightening up of procedures in adoption
stringent background checks on applicants
strict and long residency qualifications
(6) Reform of incest laws – Harsher sentences for abuse of children under the care/responsibility of the abuser.
(7) Increasing age of consent for females to marriage from 16 to 18
(8) Setting up of refuges for victims of domestic violence and their
Greater social welfare support for children in need of care
homes set up for children
Reform of maintenance laws to provide adequate maintenance for children in broken homes.
(For Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Collective