The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa last night officiated at the Klean and Brite Cleaning Services Futsal Championship at National Hockey Center in Suva. The championship was partially funded by the Ministry in support of the women’s futsal championship and despite the heavy downpour, Hon Vuniwaqa made time to meet with all the teams personally.
The theme of this year’s championship is ‘STOP CHILD ABUSE RIGHT NOW’. Therefore, Hon Vuniwaqa emphasized the aim of the Fijian Government in addressing the issue of child abuse and neglect through policies and partnerships. She also informed that according to statistics from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution in 2018, 38.9% of all sexual offences in Fiji were committed against children and 24.3% of all cases were where the victims and perpetrators were related or known to each other. “We cannot allow ourselves to be desensitized by the frequency of these crimes nor allow this topic to phase out of our daily conversations. The Ministry is therefore grateful to the organizers of events such as the soccer tournament for using the platform to advocate against Child Abuse”, she said.
Hon Vuniwaqa also highly praised the women’s team participating in the tournament. “As players, these amazing young ladies are already advocating for gender equality in the field of sports and I take my hat off to them”, she said. Hon Vuniwaqa also shared the same sentiments as one of the female players who said, “what they (men and boys) can do, we can do better”.