“Children must be protected from all forms of violence including incidences where they are bullied and physically beaten up by their peers or those in authority.”
These are the words of Save the Children Fiji Chief Executive Officer, Shairana Ali
Children consulted during Save the Children Fiji’s analysis of child rights highlighted that they have witnessed children being abusive to their peers and also instances where children are physically violent to their peers.
In school settings, when children experience or witness such behaviors, they may experience long lasting mental trauma and this may affect their ability to learn and ultimately, issues such as absenteeism from school, poor academic performance and dropping out of school altogether.
Save the Children Fiji CEO, Shairana Ali stressed that it is crucial that everyone is able to spot such violent behaviors whether it is by a student, a teacher, a parent or a community member.
It is everyone’s responsibility to look out for physical, sexual and emotional violence being perpetrated on children and take immediate actions to protect the child and inform the police.
Any behavior that a child finds intimidating and humiliating and that causes harm to the child must be investigated swiftly.
Every student deserves to be treated with respect and this is their basic right, Ms Ali added.
Save the Children Fiji strongly believes that every school and community must develop a culture where children’s rights are respected and upheld.
Furthermore, every citizen must know that violence on children will not be tolerated and people are aware and take action to prevent abuse and exploitation of children and at the same time, are confident to report such incidences.
Parents and teachers including children must be informed and educated on the ‘zero tolerance policy on violence or abuse in schools’.
There is a lot of work that is still needed in schools to ensure that schools are fully compliant with this policy and that teachers are equipped with the skills to address student behaviours in an effective way.
A child friendly approach is needed to educate children on the harmful effects of bullying their peers and parents must take responsibility and dedicate time and educate their children on good morals and family values.