THE growing incidence of violence against women is a concern for the Pacific Sexual and Reproductive Health Research Centre which is based at the Fiji National University.
A survey conducted by the centre shows that between 2005 and 2009, 3027 violence against women cases were reported at 16 health facilities across Fiji. This was the finding of 98 health workers.
"Issues surrounding violence against women in Fiji have been addressed by non-government organisations using mainly feminist, legal and human rights perspectives," said centre member Avelina Rokoduru.
"Using a public health approach, the centre then again conducted a study in 2012 and its secondary analysis in 2011. There is no or little data available from the Ministry of Health for violence-related injuries including patient treatment and management at health facilities."
Mrs Rokoduru said health facilities had processes and systems to address violence against women issues and that these need strengthening.
The centre is adamant that violence against women can only be eradicated or prevented if solutions for such issues are geared towards behaviour change.
"What's not known includes the types of injuries sustained, those most commonly seen, types of treatment given and how health professionals manage violence against women injuries at remote centres and whether professional health staff are adequately trained to address such cases," she said.
Mrs Rokoduru said during the timeframe of the research, they noted that members of the public were aware of violence against women but the cause of violence was unknown because the records did not contain personal information.
"Further studies are recommended to establish causes of violence against women and to identify personal or community based coping mechanisms or solutions to address these incidents. Currently there are no Pacific studies looking at it from a public health perspective and this study could be a model to do just that for the region."