‘Landmark’ Tonga Family Protection Law Gazetted

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‘Landmark’ Tonga Family Protection Law Gazetted Bill lauded by advocates set to be in place by mid-2014

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Nov. 13, 2013) – Tonga’s landmark Family Protection Act 2013 is expected to come into force in mid-2014 with the aim to provide greater protection from domestic violence by introducing a new area of protection orders.

The Bill with some amendments was passed by parliament on September 4, 2013 after three-weeks of heavy debate and was greatly welcomed by advocates in Nuku'alofa who observed that family violence is increasing in Tonga.

King Tupou VI gave his assent on November 5, 2013 before it was gazetted on Monday, November 11 to become an Act.

Protection orders

Initiated by the Women’s Affairs Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Regional Rights Resource Team, the Act's stated intention is to ensure the safety and protection of all persons, including children who experience domestic violence; provide support for victims, implement programs for victims and assist their recovery while facilitating the enforcement of court orders issued to stop acts of domestic violence.

In addition, Tonga Police are given the power to issue Police Safety Orders to immediately separate the victims from the other party effective for seven-days. Protection orders can also be sought from the court for further protection.

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