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Fiji Time: 5:08 AM on Thursday 24 April

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Reporting an issue

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

VIOLENCE in Fiji is alarmingly under-reported.

This was one of the issues highlighted yesterday at the launch of the national report on women by the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (FWCC).

While the report documented startling statistics about the prevalence of physical, sexual and emotional violence in the country, it was also obvious that under-reporting remained a major problem.

According to FWCC executive director Shamima Ali, this information, although insightful, was just the tip of a very steep iceberg.

"Under-reporting is very bad — we believe we're seeing only about 10 per cent of people who are actually undergoing violence," Ms Ali said yesterday in an interview.

"And the issue of sexual violence has particularly under-reporting.

"When we first started, it was worse though, less than five per cent of people, but a lot of people still need to come out."

She said with this in mind, more had to be done to change not only the surroundings of women, but the mind-sets of people in general.

"What we do need is prevention — looking at how we can prevent it from increasing, how we change the attitudes and bring the numbers down.

"There cannot be enough places for women to go to — what would be better if all of our people were be sensitised — the services were sensitised and we were all on the same page — all services, the way they respond etcetera were all sensitised," she suggested.