Ministry acted on alleged rape incident in accordance with its policy

Fiji’s Ministry of Education acted in accordance to the Child Protection Policy with regards to the alleged rape incident case at a remote maritime high school.

While expressing its sadness in a statement on the alleged offence, the ministry stated the alleged incident was reported to the schools Child Protection Officer, who then addressed the matter to the school administration for further investigations.

“The compiled reports by the school administration in relation to the alleged incident were handed over to the police officers at the Police Post at the maritime zone for further investigations,” the statement said.

The statement added heads of schools and teachers were empowered by the ministry and mandated under the Child Protection Policy to take severe actions against such incidents.

Meanwhile, the ministry is waiting for Police to carry out their investigations because the case was now with the police and the Social Welfare department.

Extract from the Child Protection Policy

All suspicions and allegations of Child abuse, child labour, trafficking, neglect and exploitation MUST be reported promptly to the CPO who shall investigate and direct all the findings to the school head who then shall inform the School Management and the CPO in the Education Offices within 2-3 days of the incident.

The District or Divisional Education office shall be required to forward a copy to the HRM section of the MoEHA.

Failure to report or misreporting with the intent of shielding an accused can result in disciplinary action instituted against the reporter as stipulated in the Child Welfare Decree of 2010.

Child Protection Policy Section 6 (12) If the school head is not available, the case should be referred to the vice principal/assistant head teacher, whichever is applicable. In the absence of the school heads and assistants, the next most senior officer should be the receiving officer Where there is a complaint against an officer of MoEHA, school teacher, employee or volunteer, there may be two types of investigation: Criminal in which case the police are immediately involved Disciplinary or misconduct in which case the school will be involved.

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