SUVA, Fiji—The Pacific’s seventh major regional meeting on ending violence against women concluded in Sigatoka, Fiji last Friday, Aug. 19, with participants making commitments and calling for urgent action on specific issues over the next two years.
At the conclusion of the meeting—organized every four years by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade—the participants agreed that because of the scale and breadth of the work that remains to be carried out in Pacific countries, the meeting should be held every two years instead of four.
The meeting canvassed a range of issues relating to violence against women and girls and heard from practitioners and policy-makers in the field, which included: increased services for survivors of violence against women and girls; improving access to justice through better working relationships with police forces and sensitive and urgent response from police personnel; increased and ongoing training in gender equality, violence against women and human rights for front-line health workers, and; urging Pacific governments to put global conventions on women and girls into practice.
The outcomes statement included an agreement to always keep women at the center of all prevention and response programs. For example, the preferred term is ‘violence against women and girls’ because it names the problem and is centered on women’s experiences of violence.
Outcomes from the meeting included specific actions Network members could take to move the commitments forward, including in the areas of working with faith-based organization, women and girls with disabilities, sorcery-related violence, protection against violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, culture and religion, perpetrator programs and male advocates for women’s human rights.
The 7th Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) Meeting took place from Aug. 12-19 at Warwick Resort with more than 60 participants working in the area of preventing and responding to violence against women and girls. The next meeting of the PWNAVAW is expected to be convened in August 2018.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as the FWCC’s biggest and longest-running donor, provides funding support for the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women meetings. (PR)