Gender, Child Violence ‘Preventable’



Plans are underway to establish and train community based first responders to sexual and domestic violence.

A three-day workshop which included non-government organisations and faith based organisations was held from August 25 to 27, 2020 with the aim to train and to establish support groups and a first responder’s team for domestic violence.

While opening the workshop on Addressing Domestic Violence and Gender Justice during COVID 19, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa said, “there is no doubt that the action to stop violence against women and girls in Fiji must be taken now; and it must happen in full force and through every possible avenue”.

“The Government of Fiji will keep working with all relevant stakeholders towards a society free from violence. I emphasize that violence against women, girls and children is preventable, not inevitable, and we all shall and can play our part.”

Minister Vuniwaqa added that Fiji embarked on an historic mission to develop a National Action Plan (NAP) to Prevent Violence Against all Women and Girls (2021-2026).

The NAP makes Fiji the first country in the Pacific and one of the only two countries globally to have an inclusive and evidence-based approach to prevent violence against women and girls.

“The National Action Plan will explain, using data and evidence, what the root cause of violence against all women and girls in Fiji, and what additional contributing factors that makes the violence more likely to happen.”

Head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong said the workshop will have three stages to it.

The first stage involves education and awareness of domestic violence, the second stage is to help set up a first responders to handle complaints about domestic violence and final stage is to establish support groups for survivors.

“One of the hardest things to do for people who have gone through abuse is for people to tell their story and for people to listen and understand their story,” the Archbishop said.

“So, for many who are abused as children they really do not know how to handle these things, they do not know whether it is right or wrong.”