Prime Minister Bainimarama.
The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre welcomes the comments made by the Prime Minister regarding the alarming levels of sexual and physical violence against women in Fiji (Fiji Sun 13/2/2014).
“We commend the Prime Minister for his statement and in recognising the gravity of the problem that is being faced by the women of Fiji” said Shamima Ali, the Coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre. “In December last year, we released our National Research on Women’s Health and Life Experiences in Fiji (2010/2011). Our research shows that 64% of women in Fiji are subjected to physical and sexual violence by their intimate partner during their lifetime. This places levels of violence against women in Fiji amongst the highest in the world.”
“The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre has been working for 30 years to raise awareness on the issue of violence against women, and has been campaigning ceaselessly for legislative reform in this area” added Ali. “While, as the Prime Minister stated, legislative reforms have been brought in to the Criminal Law and Protection Orders are now more readily available, legislative reform alone is not sufficient. Legislative reform must also be accompanied by strict law enforcement, as well as recognition by the community at large that violence against women is wrong and is never acceptable.”
“Unfortunately, women are still not being encouraged and supported to report sexual and physical abuse, and the No Drop Policy is not being universally enforced. Recently, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre has been made aware of several cases where women who have gone to the Police to report abuse have themselves been charged with giving false information.” said Ali.
“We hope that the Prime Minister’s comments are taken on board by law enforcement officials and by the legal justice system that women are supported to report crimes of violence against them, and treated with fairness and dignity during the process. We also invite the Government to work with us to address the root causes of violence against women and develop effective strategies towards the elimination of all forms of violence against women, girls and children.”