NADI, Fiji—Eighteen senior police officers and policy staff from eight Pacific countries are attending a workshop on gender violence against women and human rights in Nadi this week.
This is the first workshop for regional executive-level police officers facilitated by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) and funded by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). It builds on four previous training sessions funded by the AFP with frontline police officers from across the Pacific to improve policies and responses to cases of violence against women.
The participants include Tuvalu’s Acting Police Commissioner Luka Falefou and Tonga’s Deputy Commissioner Corporate Ashley Fua. Officers from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Vanuatu are also attending the workshop.
The workshop targets officers who are able to influence change in their frontline response to survivors of violence against women and to bring perpetrators to justice.
FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali is facilitating the five-day workshop at the Sofitel Hotel on Denarau in Nadi.
“Understanding the gender dynamics and power relations at play in cases of violence against women should help these officers critique and develop policy and procedures to respond to such cases,” Shamima Ali said.
“With rates of violence against women in the Pacific among the highest in the world, police officers are key partners in eliminating the problem because they are the ones women turn to first for protection.
The workshop is also examining the links between policing and human rights, with the hope that the participating officers will contribute to putting in place procedures that will uphold human rights and provide justice for survivors of violence.
The officers will develop action plans that will enable them to implement their learning during the week on how to improve their response to female survivors of violence.
The series of workshops with regional police officers is part of the Australian Federal Police’s Pacific Police Development Program Regional (PPDP-R), an Australian Government initiative supporting a broad range of police development activities through the region. (PR)