NGO: Our Numbers Higher Than Global Rate

Minister Vuniwaqa: Concerted national effort needed to eliminate violence against women and girls in the country.
26 Nov 2020 12:06
NGO: Our Numbers Higher Than Global Rate
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre responded to 751 new domestic violence counselling cases from January to October this year.

National Co-ordinator Shamima Ali said a survey showed that two in three Fijian women suffered from domestic violence, which was higher than the global average of one in three women.

She said coercive control was also a major part of domestic violence.

“We have witnessed the rape of children, the youngest being four months old and oldest is 90 years old. It is unimaginable, but we need to hear it,” Ms Ali said.

“Sexual harassment is everywhere and every woman and girl is at risk,” she said, adding that violence was seen as a norm.

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa said it would take a concerted national effort to eliminate violence against women and girls.

She said on behalf of Government, her ministry would lead the charge to develop the national plan, with the goal of consulting at least 2500 women, men and youths from all diverse backgrounds.

The consultations will take place in two phases from October to December this year and February to April next year.

Ms Vuniwaqa summarised Government’s achievements since 2006 and stated that in 2009 the first domestic violence law was introduced creating a specific mechanism for the protection of victims of domestic violence and the prosecution of perpetrators.

The removal of the need to have the evidence of a rape corroborated in court through the Crimes Act 2009 made prosecution easier and empowered victims.

The amendment of the marriage age to 18 years old in 2009 ended the exploitation of young women through marriage.

In 2012, the Family Law Act was amended, recognising the rights of defacto spouses.

Edited by Naisa Koroi




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