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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 24) – Fiji Women's Minister Adi Asenaca Caucau said she is saddened by sexual offences against women and children increasing 68 percent this year.

Adi Asenaca was referring to recent findings by police after comparing sexual offences data from the first six months this year with the same period last year.

The comparison showed rape and attempted rape cases increased by 70 percent and indecent assaults increased 58 percent.

"As a mother, it really saddens me to see the breakdown of the moral values in society," she said. "However, what is positive here is that more and more victims are coming forward to report their abuse to non-government organisations and the ministry. Many inconsiderate people are quick to blame the victim, saying it was the clothes they were wearing or the situation they found themselves [in]. That should not be the case."

Adi Asenaca said many, if not all victims, especially prostitutes and children, were used in the sex trade because there is a demand.

She said everyone should work together to create an awareness to stop the demand.

"The solution is very simple: stop demand by raising public awareness. Government and NGOs must work together in calling for local and global action," she said.

Adi Asenaca congratulated NGOs and women's groups for initiatives and programs to observe the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence in Fiji.

November 25, 2005

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