Pregnancy no protection from partner violence, survey finds

CAPTION: Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Deputy Coordinator Edwina Kotoisuva presents a summary of the findings of the major national survey carried out by the FWCC during 2010-11. The presentation was made today at the Holiday Inn in Suva. Photo: FWCC


SUVA, 31 January 2013 – A national survey of women in Fiji has foundthat being pregnant has not stopped a woman from experiencing violence at the hands of her husband or partner.

The major survey by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre found that 15 per cent of ever-pregnant women were physically assaulted during pregnancy by their spouse or partner.

One in three ever-pregnant women who experienced physically violence (33%) were severely abused, including being hit or kicked in the stomach.

The survey findings were published today. The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre carried out the research between 2010 and 2011 interviewing 3193 women aged between 18 and 64 years. It is the most extensive of its kind in Fiji in 10 years and data from it is globally comparable.

Overall, the survey – which was carried out using World Health Organisation methodology – shows that violence against women cuts
across all aspects of their lives but with some groups more at risk than others.

The consequences of violence against women on their reproductive health and children were laid bare in the survey. Women who experience physical or sexual violence were more likely to have a miscarriage than those who have not experienced violence by a husband or intimate partner.

Of the children whose mothers experienced physical violence, more than half (54.8%) had seen or heard their mother being assaulted.

Violence against women was also found to have a range of negative impacts on children and their schooling.

The survey found that most women bear the violence they experience in silence, not reaching out anywhere for help. Almost half of all women living with partner violence (46.6%) had never told anybody about the violence and almost four out of five women had never sought help from any agency to deal with it.

If women did tell somebody about the violence, it was most likely their family and friends. However, less than one in five women went to police or health centres and hospitals for help. And less than one in 10 women went to institutions such as legal aid or social welfare or religious leaders for help. Less than 5 per cent asked shelters and women’s organisations for help.


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