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FWRM Releases Sexual Violence Against Women And Girls Rape Case Analysis 2020

The average age of sexual violence victims/survivors for the past 5 years in Fiji is under 17 years and the age of the youngest victims/survivors continue to be under the age of 5 years old according to FWRM’s Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls Rape Case Analysis 2020 published today.

FWRM’s latest rape case analysis revealed disturbing findings of the prevalence of child abuse and worsening situation for sexual violence in Fiji. The paper is a continuation of the annual rape cases analysis undertaken by FWRM since 2016 as part of our ongoing research and advocacy on strengthening Fijian’s women’s access to justice.

“Sexual violence is so heinous a crime and yet so prevalent in Fiji, not just against women and girls but children especially. This is very alarming and there should be more urgency from everyone, members of the public, to address this issue,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh.

“According to the report, in 63 per cent of the cases, the victim/ survivor knew the accused. This means that change needs to happen everywhere, from the national level to within our families, our homes, schools, churches, on the streets and our communities because the perpetrators are not strangers, they are from our communities.”

FWRM in continuing with the research on sexual violence against women and girls analysed 81 rape cases decided in the High Courts of Fiji last year. In all 81 cases of rape decided by the high courts in 2020, all the accused were male, the youngest accused was 14 years old and the oldest at 78 years of age.

“All victims/survivors of the 81 cases were female with the youngest being 3 years old and the oldest victim/survivor was 83 years old. Clearly, our attitudes towards women and girls are contributing to these trends,” said Ms. Singh.

“The average age of the accused was at 25 years old this is a decrease from the previous years whereby the average age ranged from 34 to 39 years”.

FWRM also studied the trends in sentences meted out during convictions and found that the highest sentence delivered last year was a life sentence. On average, sentences meted out in sexual offences and rape convictions start from 10 years 11 months and average final sentences were at 13 years 4 months.

In 48 out of 81 cases, the accused was found guilty of rape. In 3 out of 81 cases, the accused was found guilty of a lesser charge. In all of these cases, the accused was found guilty of Defilement.

“This weekend, families and couples will mark Valentine’s Day but this is also a day of action to end violence against women and girls. V Day is a reminder and an opportunity to be an advocate, empower women and girls around us. Shut down language and behaviour that is harmful to women and girls,” said Ms. Singh.

“We will be able to foster a safer community only if we advocate for equality and acknowledge women and girls’ rights. This should be a commitment we make every day because the statistics are already so frightening, the time for action is now!”

Additionally, FWRM continues its commitments to the recommendations from earlier research “Balancing the Scales: Improving Fijian Women’s Access to Justice”. FWRM published Court annex which presents data trend analysis of cases relating to Family Law and Violence against Women and Children.

More of the analysis is available on the FWRM website here and we acknowledge the Courts Registry and the High Courts for their transparency and publication of these cases on PacLii.

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