Speaking at the opening of the Pacific Women Parliamentary Partnership Forum yesterday, Bainimarama acknowledged the “appalling incidence of family violence” needed to be addressed “as a matter of urgency”.
The Prime Minister’s strong statement on the issue of family violence at a political level has been commended by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Center.
This the Center said will have an impact especially for officials to take seriously zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence.
” For us its really important that those statements come out at the level it has come out at. The Prime Minister that’s the most top level so I think that really needs to be commended and that will for us go a lot towards more action against Violence against Women ” said Ali
However, Ali said it was now up to the relevant officials, especially the police force and social services, to enforce the laws relating to domestic violence.
” We need to look at the Gender nature of violence which at this point in time the legislation is not looking at but it is there and it can be used and it should be used, its not used as much as it could be and all the nuances in it, all the details in it is not really understood by people who should be understanding it so therefore they don’t respond very well to it ” said Ali
From January to March this year, 187 cases of Domestic violence cases have been received by the Center, majority in the 25 to 45 age group for the Suva – Nausori – Navua corridor while centers in other locations receive 20 to 30 Domestic violence cases.
” In our response is when we cater to the women , the children , the girls who come here including boys who come here for sexual abuse, adult survivors of sexual abuse and so on so that’s doing counseling and advocacy. From that we find out whats wrong with the services and so on. The other arm of our work is community awareness ” said Ali
According to Ali , the Center handles up to 1000 cases or more in a year.