Man on child rape charge; more could follow

A 40-year-old man has been charged with raping a seven-year-old over the weekend and more victims may yet come forward, Police have confirmed.

The Deputy Police Commissioner, Papalii Monalisa Tiai said, the sexual violation complaint was lodged with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Police this weekend.

The alleged perpetrator was charged on Tuesday and is set to appear in court next month.

“The defendant was charged by Police [... on the] 14 July 2020, and has been remanded in custody until 3 August 2020 for court mention,” Papali’i wrote in an emailed response to questions from this newspaper.

“Police investigations are continuing [now that…] two other victims [have come] forward. It is anticipated that additional charges will be filed against the defendant.”

The relation between the alleged abuser and victim or victims is not yet known, the Police were unable to divulge more information on the case for legal reasons. 

The Pacific has among the worst rates of violence against women: two-thirds of women in the region have experienced abuse: twice the global average.

Last year, E.C.P.A.T. [formerly End Child Prostitution and Trafficking], a global network of civil society organisations working to end the sexual exploitation of children, released a damning 22-page report based on the feedback of 84 welfare workers from Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati.

Participants indicated that offenders were most likely to be a family member. 

“Offenders were most likely to be from the child’s extended family, including grandparents, uncles [and] aunts, cousins, and siblings. Parents [and] step-parents and community members were the next most common categories. 

“One participant explained that offenders who sexually exploit children were often ‘those who the children have trusted most.’” 

“‘They were breadwinners of the whole family as well as tuition fees providers.”

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