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28 February 2022

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Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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FWRM Publishes Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls Rape Case Analysis 2021 28/02/2022

28/02/2022

FWRM Publishes Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls Rape Case Analysis 2021

The average age of all victims/ survivors of rape cases finalised in Fiji’s High Courts in 2021 is 15 years old - the youngest at 3 years of age. The average age of the perpetrator of these crimes is 36 years old.

This is according to the latest Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls Rape Case Analysis 2021 published recently by the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM). 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.

‘These findings from the 22 rape cases finalised in our high courts last year reveal the disturbing prevalence of the sexual abuse of the girl child and worsening situation for sexual violence in Fiji. ’ said FWRM Executive Director, Nalini Singh.

FWRM carries out this analysis only on rape cases proceeding to trial and decided in the High Court every year, to analyse sentencing practices and trial procedures.

‘The way criminal trials of sexual offences are run indicate society’s attitudes towards sexual crimes, of which women and girls are overwhelmingly victims of. Gender bias and harmful stereotypes often creep their way into the most public of spaces,’ Ms. Singh said.

COVID-19 has also impacted access to justice by women and girls. Courts were essentially closed during lockdowns resulting in fewer cases being heard and disposed of (only 22 rape cases that proceeded to trial published for 2021).

FWRM recommends specialized courts with speedier, streamlined processes as the way forward during such crisis situations to ensure faster turnaround times for sexual violence cases.

‘In 64% percent of these cases, the victim/ survivor knew the accused. The continuous nature of child sexual abuse and exploitation is a stark reminder that we are a long way from ensuring safe spaces for children, especially the girl child, in Fiji,’ Ms. Singh said.

A permanent domestic violence restraining order was not issued in 6 cases to protect the victim/survivor where there was a domestic relationship between the perpetrator and the victim/survivor, and where the accused was found guilty of rape.

According to the 2021 annual statistics from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, an alarming 203 people were charged with a total of 461 counts of serious sexual offences as of 31 December 2021. There were 196 victims of whom 136 victims were under the age of 18 years (69%). Of the 196 victims, 182 were female (93%).

“Year after year, women and girls make up almost 100 percent of victims/survivors of sexual crimes. How is each one of us helping to resolve this? It is not just a women’s group issue, it is everyone’s issue - mindsets and attitudes need to change. We need to shut down behaviour that is harmful to women and girls,” Ms. Singh further stated.

FWRM also published the Trends Analysis between 2016 and 2021 which revealed that throughout this period, the average age of victims/survivors has been consistently under the age of 17 years. The age of the youngest victim/survivor continues to be under 5 years.

FWRM believes that continuous gender sensitization training is needed to challenge harmful practices against women and girls. Speedier redress mechanisms that are victim/survivor centered also need to be engaged.

We acknowledge the Courts Registry and the High Courts for their transparency and publication of these cases on PacLii and ODPP’s publication of annual sex disaggregated data on sexual offences.

Ends

For media queries please contact FWRM Communications Officer Serelisoni Moceica on

8677 330 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 (The FWRM Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls Rape Case Analysis 2021 is avalable on the FWRM website here: http://www.fwrm.org.fj/images/A2J/2021_Rape_Case_Analysis.pdf )