INADEQUATE training and a lack of knowledge have been identified as two of the main reasons policemen and women are not equipped to handle domestic violence and sexual abuse cases reported by women, according to Fiji Women's Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali.
Speaking to this newspaper at the completion of a week-long Nadi workshop for 37 lawmen and women from across the Western Division, Ms Ali said more training was needed.
"Of the 37 officers that we conducted the gender training with, only two had undergone previous training on the Domestic Violence Decree and this was quite alarming," she said.
"We have ascertained that when they react negatively when women approach them to report domestic violence or sexual abuse cases, it is because of a lack of knowledge of the decree and lack of gender training."
Ms Ali said training had to be conducted in a very comprehensive manner because of the sensitive nature of gender-related issues and the reporting of gender violence, .
"We are planning a series of training programs across the country because it is extremely important that the police are aware of the law and also how to handle women that have taken the bold step to come forward and report something that has happened to them."
Ms Ali said the training programs were made possible through funding from AusAID.