The Ministry is aware and deeply saddened by the alleged rape incident case at the remote maritime high school.

The alleged incident was reported to the
schools Child Protection Officer, who then addressed the matter to the school
administration for further investigations.

The compiled reports by the school
administration in relation to the alleged incident were handed over to the
Police Officers at the Police Post at the maritime zone for further
investigations.

The Ministry acted in accordance to the Child Protection Policy and is waiting for the Police Department to carry out their investigations.

The case is now with the police and the social welfare department.

Heads of Schools and Teachers are empowered
by the Ministry and mandated under the Child Protection Policy to take severe
actions against such incidents.

Extract from the Child Protection Policy

All suspicions and allegations of Child abuse, child labour, trafficking, neglect and exploitation MUST be reported promptly to the CPO who shall investigate and direct all the findings to the school head who then shall inform the School Management and the CPO in the Education Offices within 2-3 days of the incident.

The District or Divisional Education office shall be required to forward a copy to the HRM section of the MoEHA.

Failure to report or misreporting with the intent of shielding an accused can result in disciplinary action instituted against the reporter as stipulated in the Child Welfare Decree of 2010.

6.12.3.1 If the school head is not
available, the case should be referred to the vice principal/assistant head
teacher, whichever is applicable.

6.12.3.2 In the absence of the school heads
and assistants, the next most senior officer should be the receiving officer

6.12.3.3 Where there is a complaint against
an officer of MoEHA, school teacher, employee or volunteer, there may be two
types of investigation:

6.12.3.3.1. Criminal in which case the
police are immediately involved  

6.12.3.3.2 Disciplinary or misconduct in
which case the school will be involved.

The Ministry is urging all Heads of Schools
and Child Protection Officers to ensure that the policy is upheld at all times
for the safety and welfare of all our children in our schools.

The Ministry of Education will continue to
work together with the Fiji Police Force and the Social Welfare department to
strengthen and implement procedures in place.

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