Take domestic violence seriously, warns FWCC

Caption: Shamima Ali is this file photo.

 

By ROLAND KOROI

The Fiji Women?s Crisis Centre has reiterated to the public and to authorities to take domestic violence seriously and seek appropriate help if things are getting out of hand.

This follows the latest stabbing incident where a mother and daughter were killed in Kadavu.

?We have worked tirelessly with members of the public from various communities around the country, speaking to them about women?s rights and gender based violence but we need this to be a concerted effort,? said Shamima Ali, FWCC Coordinator.

?Many of these women suffer in silence for many years without seeking help and this often leads to perpetrators becoming bolder about their actions. If authorities and those in charge at community level don?t come together to tackle domestic violence, then our efforts will be in vain.

?Time and again we have called on everyone to take this issue seriously. We have always said that if domestic violence is not treated with the attention it needs, then the results will be tragic as we have witnessed time and again,? said Ms Ali.

The FWCC has also expressed its concern at the level of complacency shown towards the monitoring of domestic violence restraining orders.

?We have received numerous reports of police continuing to reconcile victims with perpetrators despite the Zero Tolerance to Violence Against Women initiative in the Police Force, and the No Drop Policy, and the Domestic Violence Decree.

?On many occasions DVROs are implemented but when they are breached, nothing is done. This is why DVROs are becoming irrelevant for many because despite it being in place, perpetrators are continuing the abuse without being taken to task. Women?s complaints are not taken seriously and if the man makes a counterclaim, the tendency is to give him priority,? added Ms Ali.

There have been a series of workshops held with the Fiji Police Force by the FWCC and Ms Ali says a lot more still needs to be done.

?Many police officers have been through our trainings which had gender based violence as one of the topics and we have had a lot of positive feedback. What we need now is more training and that?s what we intend to do, in collaboration with the police force,? Ms Ali said.

?We have also met with the new Police Commissioner, Mr Ben Groenewald, and have made submissions raising our concerns regarding the treatment of women in police custody; lack of implementation of DVROs; police reconciling domestic violence cases including complaints by police wives; police granting bail; and generally homophobia and misogyny in the police force.?