THE People's Democratic Party have placed particular emphasis on women's rights and domestic violence involving women this year, with Suva party president Shamal Singh saying it is a fact that a number of women in Fiji suffer silently.
In responding to questions by this newspaper yesterday, Mr Singh said if elected, the party would work towards educating all communities and at every level to discuss these issues with both men and women and how this impacted families and individuals.
"It is sad to witness that violence against women and children is prevalent in our modern society," Mr Singh said yesterday.
"Although most cases are often either under reported or not reported at all, but unfortunately the fact remains that women suffer silently. We have adapted to a lot of change and modernisation, however, society has yet not changed its mind-set on equality for women."
He said women worked equally as hard as men do in all affairs — from the corporate sector, to the labour force, nation-running and within their own homes.
"If elected, PDP will implement educational workshops in all communities and at every level to advise both men and women on these issues, the effects of violence on families and children and other social effects, after which laws pertaining to domestic violence will be reviewed and amended accordingly.
"We will be taking these matters seriously and harsh penalties will be imposed on persons who continue to create offence and disrespect women in subject to any form of violence."
He said while work was being done to raise awareness around this issue, much more could be done in terms of educational access to such information.
"I personally feel that there isn't enough education and seriousness taken by society to address violence. There isn't any such thing as small violence, petty violence, or minor violence — violence period — to any extent will not be tolerated."