Fiji Police Consider 24-Hour Domestic Violence Helpline

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Ministry preparing Domestic Violence Service Delivery protocol

By Siteri Sauvakacolo

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 7, 2016) – The setting up of a 24-hour domestic violence helpline and the first draft of a Domestic Violence Service Delivery are two important projects being considered by the Ministry and the Fiji Police Force.

Women Minister Rosy Akbar said a finalised domestic violence protocol would bind all service providers to a common assessment of risk, response frameworks, co-ordination and accountability.

She said the domestic violence helpline would ensure women were immediately connected with an advocate to assist with their safety, access to justice and rehabilitation.

"In addition to these approaches, the standard operating procedure agreed to and referred to in a memorandum of understanding between the Women and Children Ministry and the Fiji Police Force will reinforce the statutory obligations to service delivery under the Domestic Violence Decree," Ms Akbar said.

"My ministry has been inundated with complaints from women who have sought the help of police only to be turned away or having their complaints minimised or even blamed for their own victimisation.

"We hear stories of perpetrators acting with impunity coming back to assault and intimidate victims.

"It is in this climate that my ministry has been working very hard with police, NGOs and donor-funding partners to change."

Ms Akbar said this was done so everyone could know that the issue of domestic violence was not normal and women were entitled to protection under the law.

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