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Ministry steps up fight

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, February 28, 2013

THE Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation is working with the police and health sector to improve its services on ending violence against women and children.

Under the plan, the percentage of female police officers will be increased from 5 per cent to 20 per cent, with increased female police presence in frontline service positions.

For its part, the health sector will expand its services to sexual and reproductive health clinics.

Speaking at the official signing of COMMIT campaign yesterday, minister Dr Jiko Luveni said the police were committed to providing a 24-hour turnaround time in serious cases of violence against women and children.

Dr Luveni said the police would monitor crimes against women and children and share this information on a quarterly basis with her ministry.

"Gender will be mainstreamed into all areas of the police force, including recruitment, training, promotion and decision-making processes," she said.

"Fiji will prioritise building capacity for front-line health care workers to respond to violence against women and children holistically with medical management, referrals, counselling and appropriate treatment.

"Medical officers will be on call so that services are provided 24/7."

Under the Child Welfare Decree 2010, Dr Luveni said Fiji made a new commitment that all health personnel and teachers were mandated to report any case of suspected violence against children presented to them in health clinics or detected in schools. She said Fiji would strengthen its commitment towards supporting the safety and protection cluster in national disasters and ensuring issues relating to gender-based violence during emergencies were prioritised and addressed in a co-ordinated manner.

Dr Luveni said Fiji was committed to continue its efforts to address gender-based violence through the implementation of the National Women's Plan of Action 2010-2019.

With that, the ministry will revive an Inter-Agency Taskforce on Elimination of Violence against Women and Children.





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