Abuse and Violence
- Last Updated on 08 May 2013
Child abuse is an assault, both physical and sexual, on a child or the involvement of the child in a sexual activity with a person in which the child is used, directly or indirectly, as a sexual object. (See Family Law Act s.42 (1) for Definition of Abuse).
Family law and child abuse
An urgent application on Form 15 - Notice of child abuse or risk of child abuse can be filed in any Court Registry. You can download Form 15 from this website or ask any Court Registry.
Upon filing of a Form 15 application, the Registrar of the Family Court will notify the child welfare authority (the Social Welfare Department).
The Social Welfare Department will carry out an investigation on the complaint and notify the Court of the outcome of the investigation. This investigation will assist the Court in arriving at a decision which is in the best interest of the child.
To protect the child, the Court may make orders changing the child’s residence and contact and the Court can also make Restraining Orders. The Court can also appoint a lawyer for the child (Child’s Representative) and obtain reports from the Court Counseling Services or from some other person or body considered appropriate by the Court.
Family violence can be both physical, sexual and non physical. It can affect women, men and children. Family violence is a crime.
If your partner is violent to you or to your children, you can make a complaint to the police.
If you are in the Family Court, and concerned that your partner might abuse you, you must inform the Court staff in the Registry who will see that you are given protection whilst your case is being heard in Court.
You can apply to the Court for a Restraining Order which will order your partner not to approach or harass you or your children.
You can also apply to the Family Court for an injunction to protect you and your children
If you need urgent protection, you can apply to the Court for an Interim (temporary) Restraining Order, if the Court is satisfied in the circumstances, an Order will be issued.
If your child has been abducted (i.e. taken away from your care and control without your consent) you can seek urgent legal advice. If you are concerned about the safety of your child, you should report the matter to your nearest Police Station.
You can seek the return of your child by filing Form 12 in the Court Registry nearest to you. The Court will, if satisfied, make an Order to recover your child with or without assistance or force. A recovery order Form 18 is issued. If you are represented, then your lawyer will file an Order in the Court Registry by filling Form 18. If you are not represented, the Registrar of the Family Court will prepare and issue an Order on your behalf. As soon as the child is recovered, you must inform the Registrar of the Family Court that issued the Recovery Order.
Child removed out of Fiji
If your child has been illegally removed from Fiji, you should take urgent action. Report the matter to the Police and seek legal advice immediately. You can also file a complaint in the Family Court Registry as soon as possible. Once a child has been illegally removed to another country, the laws of that other country and International Conventions apply.