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School CP - July 2003

Radio New Zealand International, 2 July 2003

Fiji Women's Crisis Centre concerned about corporal punishment

The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre has accused two key bodies in the country of encouraging a culture of violence.

It follows support by the indigenous Fijian Teachers Association and the Great Council of Chiefs to re-introduce corporal punishment in schools to instill discipline in students.

But a spokesperson for the Women's Crisis Centre, Edwina Kotoisuva, has told Fiji TV that inflicting violence on children will teach them that this is the only way of solving problems.

Ms Kotoisuva says Fiji already has a very high rate of domestic violence, with 66 percent of all women having fallen victim.

She says violence has led to several deaths of children in recent years.

This includes one last week in which a Ba man was charged with manslaughter after his 6-year old daughter died after going into a coma following a beating.

Ms Kotoisuva foresees a bigger cycle of violence coming as a result of re-introducing corporal punishment and says it's time to put a stop to it.

Corporal punishment is unconstitutional in Fiji and the high court has already ruled against it.

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