A new toolkit being launched in Suva on Thursday will help organisations in Fiji work better with women and girls with disabilities when it comes to ending violence against women and girls.
Developed by the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) in partnership with the Fiji Disabled Persons Federation (FDPF), the “Toolkit on Eliminating Violence against Women and Girls with Disabilities in Fiji” will support EVAW organisations and partners to work with disabled persons organisations to ensure women and girls with disabilities are included in their programmes and projects.
A study carried out in 2013 showed that 64 per cent of women and girls in Fiji experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, and global data shows that women and girls with disabilities are even more vulnerable.
“We hope that this publication will assist EVAW organisations to better address violence against women and girls with disabilities and make prevention of violence against women a high priority. We must take a stand on this issue and speak up when inappropriate behaviour towards women and girls with disabilities occurs in the workplace, among families or in the immediate community,” said PDF CEO Mr. Setareki Macanawai.
The “Toolkit on Eliminating Violence against Women and Girls in Fiji” will be launched at the Holiday Inn in Suva on Thursday April 30 by the Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja.
“In all our efforts to eliminate violence against women we must include measures to assist those with particular vulnerabilities, to encourage the participation and active involvement of those with a disability and to ensure their access to justice and support services. The Toolkit recognises that it is the responsibility of society as a whole to work with women and girls with disabilities to ensure their rights are realised,” said Ambassador Stott Despoja.
The Toolkit was developed with the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and UN Women, through the Pacific Regional Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund, a UN Women project funded by the Australian Government.
“Women and girls with disabilities face additional and increased barriers to accessing services around violence – whether they are physical, economic or social,” says UN Women’s EVAW Specialist Melissa Alvarado. “This toolkit will help EVAW organisations better understand these barriers and help ensure their services are more accessible for women and girls with disabilities.”
The Toolkit has been designed to be as practical as possible and accessible for people from a range of backgrounds and experiences. It focuses heavily on group exercises, role plays, activities and case studies, with a final chapter centred on action planning for the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities.
PDF encourages service providers, development partners, donors, governments, CSOs, NGOs, private sectors, faith-based organisations and the community in general to work together and advocate for attitudinal and behaviour change towards persons with disabilities and most importantly work towards creating an inclusive society for all.