By Mabel Muller - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tackling gender inequalities and domestic violence issues is at the heart of a police training workshop held in Fiji this week.
The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre and the Australian Federal Police are hosting 20 police officers from seven Pacific nations for the five-day workshop.
The Executive Pacific Police Officers Training is underway in Fiji. Photo/ Supplied.
Co-ordinator Shamima Ali says domestic violence figures are horrific in the Pacific region and the role Police play in those situations is vital.
"Police are the major stakeholders in the work on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. If they get their act right and if they respond appropriately and have good policies around police behaviour in responding to gender-based crimes, then we will go a long way," she says.
“When you don’t understand the dynamics of violence against women - you do more harm than good."
Ali says the discussions have been very thought-provoking and at times uncomfortable for those attending.
"Most murders of women in our countries are caused by their intimate partners and not a stranger or anyone else," she says. "That's how domestic violence can and does end up in horrific murders of women and children."
Fiji Women's Crisis Centre Co-ordinator Shamima Ali facilitating at the workshop. Photo/ Supplied.
The workshop is in its third day and at the end of the week, Ali says participants will be given a chance to think about what needs to change in their respective countries, in order to stop violence against women.
"The hope is that they will go back and implement those changes," she says. "Violence against women is never acceptable and there's no justification for it whatsoever, no matter what the provocation."
Participants include Senior Executive Pacific Police Officers from Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Vanuatu and for the first time, a National Australian Federal Police representative.