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Child Bench book launched to assist in court proceedings

April 1, 2021 5:40 am

Fijian children will now be provided with appropriate protection before the courts.

The Fiji Judicial Department launched a Bench Book for Children yesterday that will guide judges and magistrates in the country in dealing with children in criminal proceedings.

It will protect children whether a child is an alleged victim of sexual abuse or other crime, a witness to a crime, or accused of a crime.

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The Book will also guide them as they work with children in family and civil proceedings in terms of their custody, guardianship, maintenance, care and protection.

Acting Chief Justice, Kamal Kumar says the publication of the Bench Book on Children will definitely assist the judges and magistrates in conducting proceedings involving children.

Justice Kumar says the judiciary is mindful of the fact that everyone, irrespective of their status in society, has a right to access to justice.

“The main purpose of publishing the Bench Book is to ensure the safety and well being of children with paramount with all respect.  It must be borne in mind that a fair, transparent, and impartial justice system is the cornerstone of a democratic society. As such, we must ensure that all parties, including children, are treated fairly, irrespective of sex, religion, ethnicity, culture, or similar reasons.”

He says the main purpose of publishing the Bench Book is to ensure the safety and well-being of children which is paramount in all respect.

The Child Bench Book is developed by the Judicial Department, with financial and technical support from UNICEF.

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