Minister for Children Lynda Tabuya is not in favour of corporal punishment and will not support any discussion about reintroducing it as a means of disciplining children.
Last year, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka stated that the coalition government would not reintroduce corporal punishment, and yesterday, the Minister for Children reiterated this stance.
Tabuya argues that corporal punishment is harmful and can lead to lasting psychological trauma.
She also sheds light on the critical imperative of breaking the cycle of violence within our communities.
“And, of course, as the child becomes an adult, then they have to deal with that trauma, and then they have unhealthy coping mechanisms as adults, they will repeat the cycle of violence, and they will end up beating others and dealing with any crisis or conflict through violence. So the cycle is perpetuated.”
Tabuya calls upon religious organizations to actively engage in collaborative efforts aimed at addressing this pressing concern.
“I challenge our churches. I challenge our faith-based organizations. I challenge our Vanua leadership. Our Turaga ni Koro’s, our Turaga ni Yavusa, our provincial councils. These must be addressed at the highest level, and this kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated. It is a crime to abuse a child. It is a crime. It is not discipline. It is violence against a child, and it must be stopped.”
Fiji Council of Churches General Secretary Reverend Simione Tugi also supports the government’s stance on this.
“It’s no longer discipline. That’s abuse. And we condemn all forms of abuse for violence against women and children. This is exactly what we have been saying all along. When you do discipline, there is always an underlying thing called love.”
The Ministry of Children’s advocacy highlights the urgency of breaking the cycle of violence and fostering safer environments for the well-being of children.