Ministry explores child curfew proposal

January 10, 2024 4:50 pm

Minister for Children Lynda Tabuya

The Ministry of Women, Children, and Social Protection is considering the proposal of implementing a curfew for children.

This is to ensure that children are not wandering the streets without supervision, emphasizing the need for parents and guardians to take responsibility for their whereabouts.

Minister Lynda Tabuya states that consultations with stakeholders will precede the proposal, clarifying that it won’t be included in the Child Protection and Child Justice Bills instead, it is suggested to be incorporated into the Public Order Act.

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Tabuya says this measure is common in other jurisdictions, intending to prevent exploitation, trafficking, and involvement in sex work during evening hours.

The proposed curfew is seen as a way to encourage families to be more accountable for keeping their children at home, shifting the responsibility beyond law enforcement.

“It will make parents more responsible to keeping their children home because it cannot just be the job of Police, now if children are out and about in the communities, and police officers are walking around to ask them which families they belong to, then parents or guardians will need to be prepared to answer for that. Because otherwise you find that a lot of children that are loitering our streets.”

The Minister highlights a significant issue where some children on the streets resist returning home, prompting concerns about the conditions at their residences.

She emphasizes that the Ministry cannot intervene unless there are reported allegations of abuse or if a child has committed a reported crime.