NATION

Analysis: Let’s Help to Bring Perpetrators of Crime to Court to Face Justice

The notion that men have the right to use violence or abuse against their wives or girlfriends because it’s a private matter is not true. In fact, it’s a crime
30 Jan 2018 10:40
Analysis: Let’s Help to Bring Perpetrators of Crime to Court to Face Justice

The notion that men have the right to use violence or abuse against their wives or girlfriends because it’s a private matter is not true.

In fact, it’s a crime or against the law to do it, says the Domestic Violence Decree 2009. Because of this it is okay to intervene and stop its commission.

Human rights lawyer Sabrina Iqbal Khan was within her rights to stop a violent man assaulting his ex-partner in Lautoka.

The people who were at the scene just watching probably thought it was a personal or private matter between the couple. They could not intervene because they had no business there. They were wrong and Ms Khan was right.

Sabrina Iqbal Khan in her office yesterday in Lautoka. Photo: Lusi Banuve

Sabrina Iqbal Khan in her office yesterday in Lautoka. Photo: Lusi Banuve

Under the Act domestic violence means:

a) Physical injury or threatening physical injury

b) Sexual abuse or threatening sexual abuse

c) Damaging or threatening to damage property of a victim

d) Threatening, a or harassing

e) Persistently behaving in an abusive, cruel, inhumane, degrading, provocative or offensive manner

f) Causing the victim apprehension or fear by –

1) Following the victim; or

2) Loitering outside a workplace or other place frequented by the victim, or

3) Entering or interfering with a home or place occupied by the victim, or

4) Interfering with property of the victim, or

5) Keeping the victim under surveillance

g) Causing or allowing a child to see or hear any of the violence referred to in paragraphs (a) to (f) inclusive;

h) Causing another person to do any of the acts referred to in paragraphs (a) to (g) inclusive towards the victim.

The definition of domestic violence leaves no room for any form of abuse or violence.

There is absolutely no justification for it under the law and it’s a warning to would-be offenders. It’s not worth it to abuse or violate your spouses or partners.

The Police have also been empowered to enforce the law.

The cases that come before the court indicate either the offenders do not understand the law or they deliberately ignore it.

The time has come for members of the public to be vigilant in watching out for signs of abuse and violence and report them to the appropriate authorities including the Police.

We know there are cases out there of violence and abuse, which have not been reported. The victims are suffering in silence because they do not know where to go or to turn to.

There is a national toll free domestic violence line 1560 and Ms Khan has offered her telephone number 6650162 if you need assistance or report an incident. The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, the NGO championing women’s rights and runs advocacy against domestic violence is also open to the public.

The Act also protects children not only as direct victims but also as witnesses to incidents.

The campaign on violence against women and children is the responsibility of everyone. We can no longer be silent. We need to all speak out because the Government cannot do it alone.

Despite all the progress we make the incidents of violence against women and children are a national disgrace. Their negative social impact on the lives of people affected is immeasurable and a blight on our society.

If we are going to make a significant turnaround in this campaign then we need to enforce the law and bring those perpetrators of domestic violence to justice.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper