MORE women are reporting abuse because they feel protected and supported by the new laws introduced by government, says Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
"Thanks to the Domestic Violence Decree, women now have greater protection from domestic violence. The law clarifies the responsibilities of the police and allows for restraining orders and other measures to protect women from abusive partners," he said while addressing last week's 14th Attorney-General's Conference. "Domestic violence not only impacts on the victim and her family, including children, it also has wider implications. For example, if a woman has been subjected to physical violence in her home, she cannot be expected to come into work the next day and contribute productively.
"When laws uphold the equality of all citizens; when laws are carefully and thoughtfully designed to take into account the Fijian context and the realities on the ground; when laws comply with international standards and best practice, they improve the quality of life for all Fijians and improve our stature as a global citizen."
Commodore Bainimarama said in establishing greater access to justice for women, the government had ensured gender equality through new laws.
"For example, the removal of archaic rules requiring corroboration in rape trials; recognising the property rights of those living in 'de facto' relationships; stopping the marriage of our female children; and the introduction of a new legal regime that addresses the abhorrent practice of domestic violence," he added.