The National – Tuesday, July 5, 2011
By ALISON ANIS
Consultations are still being carried out between the welfare office at the Department of Community Development and relevant parties for the establishment of Pikinini Courts.
This is a requirement of the Lukautim Pikinini (Child) Act 2009, senior child protection officer Terry Lui said.
Speaking at a consultative meeting for family and sexual violence committee at the Granville Motel last Wednesday, Lui told participants that talks were still being held to determine when the Pikinini Court should be established to deal specifically with children’s cases.
“Court cases to do with sexual offences and other child abuses often see a child’s right to privacy and confidentiality violated and often the child is helpless or victimised when this happens,” he said.
“We hope that through the Pikinini Court, we can address and protect a child’s personal integrity and maintain confidence and trust.”
Under the Act, child protection matters will be heard by the Pikinini Court and a magistrate of any other court except village court can preside where it is not possible for a magistrate of Pikinini Court to attend.
Lui said the office of Lukautim Pikinini, with the Department of Community Development, formerly known as the Child Welfare branch, had no funds to meet most of the targeted programmes under the Act.
“We have yet to establish the Lukautim Pikinini councils at national, provincial and local level government councils and Pikinini Trust Fund and family support services,’’ he said.
Lui said the Pikinini Trust Fund and Family Support Services must be established with money from parliament as appropriated in the National Budget for children, including contributions from individuals, corporations and international donors.
“This will cover fines imposed on people charged with offences under the Act and licensing fees for child and out of home care services,” he said.