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SPC takes action on domestic violence by supporting staff

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media release

Domestic Violence Workshop

FWCC Coordinator, Shamima Ali addresses SPC staff on Domestic Violence

Suva, Fiji – In response to the death of an employee, Losana McGowan, earlier this year following an alleged domestic violence incident, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is taking action to build more awareness within the workplace.

“At SPC, we’re moving to ensure that our staff are better informed and that there are proper systems in place to provide resources and adequate support to staff who are experiencing domestic violence,” the Director of SPC’s Geoscience Division, Professor Michael Petterson, said.

A workshop was held this week in Suva by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC), as a pilot for SPC staff from the division that Losana had worked, to build on the healing process and awareness on the issues of domestic violence.

The workshop was led by FWCC Coordinator, Shamima Ali, following a request from SPC, and is part of the Centre’s ongoing outreach with many agencies and stakeholders.

“Our workshops help people develop a better understanding of domestic violence and issues relating to it, including gender power relations and their link to domestic violence, and to gain skills for appropriate responses to domestic violence,” Ms Ali said.

The workshop is just one action being taken by SPC to address this issue with its staff. SPC is updating its domestic violence policy, to make it more visible and relevant for staff. Its release will be accompanied by training for SPC staff to ensure that everyone is educated on these issues and better equipped to seek help or provide support to those who need it.

“The workshop gave staff an opportunity to discuss issues of domestic violence in a free and open setting. The training was well received, with many of our staff reporting that it made them more aware of the root causes of domestic violence and of the resources available in Fiji to seek help and support,” Prof Petterson said.

SPC also works externally to support Pacific Island countries and territories on the issue of domestic violence, through its Social Development Division. Over the past years, SPC has engaged its staff in the White Ribbon campaign, in which men take the stance of never to condone violence against women, across all offices to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

A 2013 report from FWCC identifies that in Fiji 64% of women who have ever been in an intimate relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a husband or intimate partner in their lifetime, and 24% are suffering from physical or sexual partner violence today (Somebody’s Life, Everybody’s Business, FWCC, 2013).



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Last Updated on Friday, 24 July 2015 10:34  

Newsflash

The Pacific region is known to be one of the areas of the planet that is most exposed to disaster hazards and now must also cope with more frequent and more intense climate change events. Regular occurrences such as flooding, cyclones and drought are being amplified by the effects of climate change.

The Honourable Henry Puna, the Prime Minister of Cook Islands, has graced the opening. He spoke about his pleasure at having been invited to the STAR meeting and the annual meeting of the SPC’s Applied Geoscience and Technology division here in Noumea. Since the start of the SOPAC, Cook Islands has benefited from its services as a member, and the country has had the pleasure of hosting its annual meeting three times. The Prime Minister who was invited also in his capacity as the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum thanked Dr. Russell Howorth for his outstanding services to the region and to the SOPAC division.