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Pregnant little ones (Fiji Times Mon 20 June 2011)



SEVEN primary school students aged between 11 and 14 years have been reported pregnant since January this year. The Cakaudrove Provincial Council revealed this to The Fiji Times, saying it was an alarming trend in the province. Roko Tui Cakaudrove Ro Aca Mataitini said three of the girls had given birth and were now young mothers. He said all the seven cases were now being handled by police with some men due to appear in court soon. "We suspect that there are a huge number of unreported cases out there and we need people to be bold and come and tell us," Ro Aca said. "They can come to the provincial council office and report those cases and we will take it on from there with other authorities like the police," he said. Ro Aca said the onus rested on parents to spend more time with their children. "They play an important role in nurturing their children's education and they need to have an open communication line with their children. "And they must encourage their children to talk to them about what they (children) are going through, and or if someone does anything to them, especially girls," he said. He also urged young girls to stay away from boys and focus on their education. Ro Aca said recent visits to villages in the province have been urged to refrain from holding village meetings and other functions at night so the evenings were spent with their families. Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (FWCC) coordinator Shamima Ali said parents played a vital role in educating their children about life in general. She said parents must monitor their children in everything they do. "When children are sexually active, they should be counselled and educated to do the right thing," Ms Ali said. "Foremost, having sex with a minor is illegal and anybody found having sexual with an under-aged person is committing a criminal activity," she said. "In schools, teachers must provide sex education classes for students because puberty takes place at a very delicate stage, and with the recent pregnancy cases reported from the north, people must be on the lookout and take full responsibilities of their children," she added. Ms Ali also urged parents of victims never to stigmatise them and instead encourage them to continue to live a normal life. "People are advised to visit our Labasa branch for counselling if they need or we will pay them a visit, and also make use of experts that are specialised in areas of counselling," she said.

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