The new Child Protection and Welfare Act defines ‘children’ as all people under the age of 18 and takes a family-centric approach to child welfare and protection. Amongst other provisions, the law gives the Ministry of Home Affairs the mandate to take action to prevent and protect children from harm and provides for powers of investigation, moving a child to a safe place in cases where harm may or has come to a child, and placement of children with other caregivers.
“We welcome the passing of this vital piece of legislation” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr Karen Allen. “This Act brings Nauru into alignment with many international standards, including raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 for both boys and girls. In particular we welcome the mandatory reporting of any sexual abuse or exploitation of a child by persons in authority in a school, church or other religious institution, health facility, prison, detention or corrections facility, or any other place where children are supervised or cared. This sends a strong signal that sexual abuse or exploitation will not be tolerated – and supports child victims to safely report abuse and seek help.”
In congratulating the Government of Nauru on the passing of the Child Protection and Welfare Act, Dr Allen added, “UNICEF is proud to have supported the Government of Nauru in developing this Act. We look forward to working with the Government and communities to support its implementation and ongoing efforts to protect and support the children of Nauru.”