Withdrawal a challenge

WITHDRAWAL of domestic violence-related charges by women remains a major concern for members of the police force not only in Fiji but the Pacific as a whole.

This was one of the main issues raised at the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre’s regional police training workshop at the Hexagon Hotel in Nadi yesterday.

FWCC co-ordinator Shamima Ali said in many instances, women didn’t actually want to report their husbands.

“Police are often helpless when women report their husbands and after they do all the work, the women withdraw the charges,” she said.

“So we are having discussions around that and it is a difficulty. The other thing that has come out is the way that police officers come from our society.

“We are all brought up in the same way — we are gendered and socialised and we tend to bring in a lot of our cultural and religious values into our place of work.

“Sometimes, people believe there is an acceptance of men beating up their wives to keep them in place.”

She said some might think religion forbade divorce and culturally, a woman’s place was in the home to do all the work.

Minister for Women Rosy Akbar will respond on these issues today.