What is your understanding of suicide? Not very many people want to talk about the tragedy of suicide—especially when it involves young people. Taking one’s own life is generally considered taboo. The reasons people choose suicide are highly debated and often misunderstood. Unfortunately, its has become too common among the younger generation in Fiji. Suicide is now soRead more →
Child Helpline Fiji is a Fijian Government initiative maintained by the Department of Social Welfare, The Child Helpline aims to prevent and respond to cases of child abuse and exploitation. Not just for children, the Helpline provides information and support for adults caring for children such as parents and teachers. In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Helpline helps to ensure that all Fijian children have the right to be heard and protected.
The Helpline is available 24 hours a day where children or adults may call, for free in relation to children’s welfare or reports on abuse and neglect and be offered information and counselling support as well as be referred to specialist services such as emergency assistance.
Since the Helpline commenced in 2015, a team of four expert telephone counsellors have received over 40,020 calls received to date. Out of that number, counsellors actioned and referred over 4600 calls where they have been able to offer assistance to a child or concerned adult. Most calls were from female adults, including Fijians of both Itaukei and Indian decent and other islanders, with calls relating to tensions or violence within homes. Other main reasons for calling related to matters of neglect or related to emotional issues.
Most specifically, the latest statistics from August 2018 indicated that most calls for the month were in relation to psychological issues (fear and anxiety), Physical abuse, gender based violence where children were either victims or witnesses of violence at home and calls for educational needs like stationery. Most calls came from the South- Eastern division (30) followed by the South- Western division (27), Central division (25), North Western division (15) and 7 calls came from the North. In terms of Provinces, most calls came from Ba followed by Rewa. From the 104 calls in August, 77% have been successfully addressed by the Counsellors and are now closed, while 23% cases remain open and are on-going.
Calls to the Helpline are mostly from adults as compared to children hence, the target age range of 0-18 years need more awareness on their rights and responsibilities and usage of the service in order to encourage more children callers.
Child Helpline Fiji continues to provide a professional, compassionate and ethical service 24 hours a day, proving successful in addressing the needs of children and their carers. It is important that every child in Fiji has equal access to the service. Given that most calls came from adult females, MSP needs to be able to further focus on children under 18 years at a community level, school, church groups, youth groups and via social media.
Medical Services Pacific is the implementing part of the Ministry of Women Children and Poverty Alleviation and delivers the Child Helpline project and services. MSP was pleased to sign a new contract with the MWCPA to continue the services in 2018. MSP has two branches in Fiji, with free clinics based in Suva and one in Labasa providing supporting services to families in need.