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Unreported crimes

Avinesh Gopal
Sunday, January 19, 2014

THE Fiji Women's Crisis Centre claims many crimes against women are unreported to the police and there are many reasons for this.

In a statement, the centre expressed concern at the revelation by the police of a major drop in crimes committed against women in 2013 when compared to 2012.

Acting Commissioner of Police Ravi Narayan told his fourth quarter parade in Suva on Wednesday the police managed to meet the 10 per cent target in the reduction of crime against women and recorded a major reduction of 88 per cent.

FWCC co-ordinator Shamima Ali said the centre's National Research Report on Violence Against Women, Somebody's Life, Everybody's Business, released last December, clearly shows that less than 10 per cent of intimate partner violence is ever reported to the police.

"There are many reasons why women don't report violence to the police. Many women are intimidated by the perpetrators and fear more violence if they go to the police," she said.

"Other women see violence as being 'normal' and what they expect from their partners. Many women are embarrassed and ashamed and are afraid they will not be believed.

"Others fear that their relationship will end or that their children will be taken away from them."

Ms Ali said the centre received several reports of their clients being charged by the police when they reported cases of sexual and physical abuse.

"Women must be able to approach the police without fear and the police must ensure that complaints are investigated fully and with the utmost vigour, whether the complaints are against strangers or against the complainants' partner or husband.

"It is not for the police to reconcile complainants and the perpetrators, and the good work done by the police in the past under the No Drop Policy must be continued," she said.

Police chief operations officer ACP Rusiate Tudravu said what was revealed at the fourth quarter parade reflected the statistics of reports they received.

"The Acting Commissioner clearly stated that the statistics were what's on paper, however, it doesn't depict the true picture of what's happening on the ground," he said.

"The Fiji police have always acknowledged this, which is why he stressed more effort was needed to gain the support of the public to curb the incidence of these offences."

ACP Tudravu said officers were constantly reminded of the importance of working harder to curb the incidence of crimes against women.

"The reduction of crimes against women is one of our main targets and while some may opt to seek assistance from other organisations which is their right, we must not be focused on statistics but rather what we can collectively do to protect our women.

"If there are some areas where we can improve on in as far as service delivery is concerned, then our doors are always open for discussion on the matter.

"All domestic violence cases reported are treated seriously and there is a 'no drop' policy directive on these cases."

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