‘Together we can eliminate abuse’

An emotional Tia Raiwalui (left) speaking to participants at the First Responders to Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse workshop at the Saint Joseph Secondary School hall in Suva. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

Domestic violence can only be eliminated if there is a collective approach to it, says the head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong.

“We believe that together, we can make a change and eliminate domestic violence and sexual abuse,” he said.

Archbishop Loy Chong said the Catholic Church of Fiji, through the Caritas Archdiocese of Suva, conducted a three-day workshop titled “First Responders to Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse”.

He said workshop participants learnt how to establish first responders teams in their respective parishes and communities. He highlighted that the workshop used the “see, judge, act” method which is a tool used to help faith-based organisations respond effectively to social issues.

“Two sexual abuse survivors shared their stories. The participants carried out a social analysis to understand the linkages and root causes of violence against women and children.”

Archbishop Loy Chong said workshop participants learned basic skills for responding to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and proceeded to put together their action plan for establishing first responders teams.

Participants at the workshop included representatives from Christian, Hindu and Islamic faiths, civil society organisations (House of Sarah, Homes of Hope, Transcend Oceania, Soroptimist International, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre), different ethnic groups (iTaukei, Indo-Fijian, Philippines, Rotuma, Rabi, Kiribati, Chinese) and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

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