Child psychologists needed in Fiji to help abuse victims

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There are urgent calls in Fiji for child psychologists to help deal with an increase in child sexual abuse victims.

US Navy 100406 N 7478G 346 Operations Specialist 2nd Class Reginald Harlmon and Electronics Technician 3rd Class Maura Schulze play peek a boo with a child in the Children%27s Ward at Hospital Likas

Fiji is tackling an apparent spike in cases of child sexual and physical abuse with police this week saying there were over 2500 reported cases of sexual assaults in 2015.

A doctor and reporter to the Minister of Health, Reati Mataika, said the higher number of cases did not mean it was a recent phenomenon but that people were more confident in coming forward and reporting cases.

She said her experience in Australia showed her the benefits of having specially trained personnel to deal with infants and youths.

“That’s a big gap that we have, having some sort of counselling for the children that are involved. We have a lot of counsellors in Fiji but unfortunately there’s no child psychologist.”

“I recognise that it’s a really big area and a lot of our children that have been abused are traumatised for life,” she said.