Child Protection Division (CPD)
The Child Protection Division (CPD), headed by Acting Principal Legal Officer, Mr Meli Vosawale, conducts criminal proceedings where sexual and other serious offences are committed against children or matters where children are the primary witnesses.
The ODPP recognises its responsibility to give appropriate considerations to the concerns of vulnerable victims such as children.
Our CPD team works to simplify the criminal justice system for victims of sexual offences and child witnesses to help them better adapt to the judicial process that they may journey through.
It is also our responsibility to ensure that child victim’s parents or guardians are kept well informed of the developments within the case of their child. Witness conferencing is conducted with victims and witnesses to help familiarise them with the court proceedings and procedure.
The ODPP’s Prosecution Code, 2003 (“The Code“) guides State Prosecutors in their conduct with victims of crime.
The Code obliges prosecutors to be sensitive to the interests and needs of victims of crime.
The Code states that the prosecutor must endeavour to safeguard the interest and the dignity of the victim, providing comfort when necessary.
The Child Protection Guidelines of 2009 (“The Guidelines“) set out the operations of the CPD, for instance, the steps in building rapport with the child victim, the decision on whether to oppose bail for the accused and considerations relating to pre-trial applications such as witness protection applications.
There are also witness protection applications that we make in Court such as name suppression, closed court and screen applications.
One of the core objectives of the Division is to create a child-friendly environment within the CPD so that it could ensure that child victims are comfortable with prosecutors and this also helps prosecutors in preparing the child for giving evidence during their trial in court.
The Division is headed by Acting Principal Legal Officer, Mr Meli Vosawale with four legal officers, Mr Simione Seruvatu, Ms Kimberely Semisi, Ms Swastika Sharma and Ms Lavenia Bogitini.
Section 41(1) of the Constitution:
Every child has the right:
(1)(d) To be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, any form of violence, inhumane treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour;
41(2) The best interests of a child are the primary consideration in every matter concerning the child.