THE number of reported violence against women cases in the Western Division for the first six months of this year has increased when compared with data for the same period in 2013.
A press statement issued by the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre yesterday showed a rise in rape, domestic violence, child abuse and sexual harassment cases.
Rape cases reported went slightly up from 6 to 9, domestic violence from 268 to 271, sexual harassment from 11 to 15 and child abuse from 11 to 15.
In contrast, cases such as maintenance, issues with in-laws and legal problems decreased significantly from 120 to 69.
Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said although the increase was minimal, the issue had to be taken seriously.
"We have always been of the view that violence against women is happening and there are so many cases out there that are unreported," she said.
"Although this increase can be quite alarming, the positive to this is that women are slowly gaining confidence and are coming out to report cases of abuse against them.
"Every time we do an analysis, it's very rare for us to find a reduction in such reports, there's always an increase because women are speaking out.
"So while it is good that they're coming forward, this is also a challenge to authorities and especially to men to try and reduce such reports."