Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls Announces Support for Survivors of Sexual Assault

Thursday 27 November 2014. Today Australia?s Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja opened the Medical Services Pacific (MSP) One Stop Shop clinic in Suva and announced a further $170,000 in Australian Government funding for confidential peer support and counselling for survivors of sexual assault.

?Supporting survivors must be a priority alongside our efforts to prevent violence against women and girls,? Ambassador Stott Despoja said.

?MSP services ensure that survivors have the long term health and counselling support they need, and are able to pursue legal recourse through the appropriate channels,? the Ambassador added.

MSP is a non-government organization that delivers community healthcare, information and clinical services, focusing on reproductive, maternal, child and adolescent health.

?In Fiji, there is a real need for additional support services to assist survivors of sexual assault,? said Executive Director MSP Jennifer Poole.

?We provide a range of support services and confidential clinical care to all women and youth in need, but survivors are prioritized and assisted immediately to reduce any added stress they might experience,? she added.

The One Stop Shop clinic, funded by the Australian Government, provides medical, counselling and legal aid services to clients on a walk-in and referral basis.

The funding announced by Ms Stott Despoja will support the new Phoenix Group program launched in April this year, which offers confidential peer support, counselling and a network for survivors and their families. The funding has also allowed for the development of the Little Phoenix group to provide a safe space for child survivors and their siblings.

Working in partnership with the Fiji Ministry of Health, Fiji Police Force and donors, MSP has provided over 115,000 healthcare services to clients in Fiji since 2010.

After signing an agreement with the Fiji Police Force in 2012, MSP has seen more than 148 survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence. This includes 74 cases this year.

PRESS RELEASE