Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa officiated at the Best Practice for Police Response to Domestic Violence: Understanding the Law, Practice and using a Survivor-Centered Approach Workshop at Warwick Fiji Resort and Spa.
The training is envisaged to contribute to a wider understanding on the legislation that deals with domestic violence, an area that Fiji Police Force is dealing with in their daily work. The role of the police in cases of domestic violence and abuse is crucial.
“You are at the front line of the criminal justice system. You are often called upon to intervene when an act of violence is in progress or shortly after it has occurred. You work with victims, offenders, witnesses and various forms of evidence,” she said.
“Your attitude and response to all involved can have a dramatic impact on ensuing developments, including the prevention of future violent acts and the protection of victims.”
She added that the Fijian Government in its pledge to eliminate violence against women has made commitments at various levels to help change the way Fijian women are treated.
“The 5 year and 20 year National Development Plan places priority on empowering women to reach their full development potential and further highlights Government’s commitment in providing positive and innovative approaches to achieving, gender equality and to eliminating discrimination and violence against women, whereby gender-based violence prevention will be a priority for Government,” Minister Vuniwaqa said.
“We are also equipped with the Domestic Violence Act to ensure justice and safety is given priority in cases of violence within homes. We also have a National Gender Policy, which defines gender based violence and demands the commitment of stakeholders in this area, amongst several other aspects of women’s development to ensure women live a life free from violence and discrimination.”