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SECRETARIAT OF THE PACIFIC COMMUNITY (SPC) Pacific Women's Resource Bureau Noumea, New Caledonia

MEDIA RELEASE January 25, 1999

SUVA, FIJI (January 25, 1999)--A study on the prevalence and frequency of different forms of violence against women in selected Pacific Island countries will begin in March 1999.

The study will look at the risk and protective factors concerning the issue of violence against women; the health and legal consequences; strategies and interventions to prevent violence against women; and the impact of attitudes on the prevention and intervention of the social problem.

The project, funded by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), proposes the study of seven low socio-economic Pacific countries over a five-year period. The first phase of the project will comprise three countries to be chosen from among Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Samoa and Tuvalu.

Countries selected for the project's first phase will represent the Pacific sub-regions of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia.

Criteria for selection will be based on cultural diversity, the availability of NGO and Government support systems, the existence of prior research on violence against women and the availability of socio-economic, development and population data.

The Solomon Islands has been selected as the project's pilot country for the first 18 months of the project's cycle.

The study will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will be an in-depth survey through interviews, on women experiencing violence, and the attitudes of decision-makers, service providers, and men and women from urban and rural areas, including a systematic review of court and police records. The second phase will consist of a more in-depth study of 3,500 women and men from one urban and one rural center.

The project will be managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Pacific Women's Resource Bureau (PWRB) based at SPC headquarters in New Caledonia.

A support office will be set-up at the SPC Fiji office, where project staff will be based.

A country support steering committee will advise and make recommendations for the provision of technical expertise to assist with implementation of the project.

Key project partners at the regional level are the SPC, UNFPA, Fiji Women's Crisis Center and the Pacific Conference of Churches. Key national partners are government departments such as health, women, statistics, Central Planning Office, police and the courts. Also to be included are the churches and selected NGOs.

For additional information: Debbie Singh Communications Officer Pacific Women's Resource Bureau Secretariat of the Pacific Community BP D5, Noumea, New Caledonia TEL: (687)26.20.00 FAX: (687) 26.38.18 E-mail: Debbie_Singh@hotmail.com or SPC Suva Office Tel: (679) 370-733/(679) 370-021 CONTACT: Emele Duituturaga

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