PRESS RELEASE – 11/08/2011 13:08
The Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) would like to call for the return of Mr. Chris Kelley to a renewed contract under the Ministry of Police as Police Commissioner.
WCCC Director, Ofa-ki-levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki said, “Mr. Kelley has consistently taken real action to improve the police force response to end Violence Against Women and Children. The role that Police play is absolutely critical to acknowledge and work towards ending these crimes against women and children.”
WCCC acknowledges his significant contribution to the improvement of systems and processes within the Police in dealing with and addressing domestic violence and all forms of violence against women and girls in Tonga.
We also acknowledge his contributions to strengthening relationships between the police and the NGO and CSO sector, bringing together key leaders to form the first ever National Advisory Committee to the Police on Domestic Violence.
We further acknowledge his commitment towards developing the first ever Domestic Violence Policy Draft within the Police and his call for Non Government Organizations (NGO) and Community Service Organizations (CBOs) contributions towards this Policy.
We appreciate his firm stance on the No Drop Policy and appreciated the roll out of this policy within the Police while at the same time noting that further training is needed in this area to improve front line reporting and victim support.
We value his passion and his determination to share domestic violence statistics, relevant information and best practices on the elimination of all forms of violence in Tonga, particularly of violence against women and girls.
The WCCC calls for urgent government action to facilitate the return of Mr. Chris Kelley to the position of Police Commissioner.
For more information please contact ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki on email@example.com
The Mo’ui Ke Fiefia Safe House is a temporary safe house for victims and survivors of violence in Tongatapu. It gives women and her children and young girls a safe space to find solace and access the support she needs most. Some clients can stay up to 6 weeks, others 2 days. It all depends on her circumstances and more importantly her safety.
With younger clients, it can be a bit tougher, some can stay for up to 12 months depending again on her situation, particularly if there is a court request that she be taken care of by the Mo’ui Ke Fiefia Safe House.
There are is always a staff member around 24 hours, 7 days a week and meals and accommodation is free for the victim/survivor.
To date, most of the food, furnishing and internet connection have been donated by the public. We’ve also had wonderful people donating rent money for the safe house when it first established.
Support services for clients accessing the safe house include free counselling, assisting her children to continue accessing education and so much more, and for our younger clients we try to ensure that their lives are not interrupted and that they can continue living normal lives accessing the support services she needs the most.
If you would like to support the great work that the Mo’ui Ke Fiefia Safe House undertakes, please don’t hesitate to contact us at our Head Office in Fanga, 22 240. Any donations are a blessing!
WCCC participated in the 2011 Girls Empowerment Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) held recently in Ha’apai. Community Education Trainer, Lesila To’ia conducted a presentation on the Centre to the 3 girls and camp counselors. “It was really encouraging and inspiring for me to see this group of young girls eager to hear about the centre. They asked lots of questions about the various forms of abuse, and how the centre deals with these survivors.”
One of the participants said “I am thankful that there is a place you can turn to for support and help if you come through or experience these types of violence and it is a pity that the centre is at Tongatapu only, but with your 24 hours phone services I know for sure we can pick up the phone and call your centre. Thank you for the empowerment of these women and children who have struggled and suffered a lot.”
The young girls were surprised when talking about sexual harassment, for most of them admit that it is common at school, while boys see it as a kind of joke. One girl mentioned that it was an eye opener for them to learn that sexual harassment is a crime for they usually see it as normal.
The girls were really enjoying the session and wanted to learn more about the centre. They were happy to know about the network with various stakeholders especially the Ministry of Police (Domestic Violence Unit) in trying to address the issues of abuse and violence. They were also interested to hear about the team of male advocates who promote women’s human rights and to the role that men and boys can play in stopping violence against women and children.
WCCC extends its gratitude to the Camp GLOW organizers, who were the Ministry of Training, Education, Youth and Sports in conjunction with the Peace Corps. “The camp plays an important space for girls to be reminded that they are our Kingdom’s future” said To’ia.
Partner organization of WCCC, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, held their annual retreat for 2011 at Yatule Beach Resort, Nadi, Fiji.
WCCC Community Education Trainer Lesila To’ia was in attendance.
“It was a great time of bonding, mentoring and learning from each other. We analyzed past and present problems and planned how we could work together to improve and overcome these issues.”
Topics covered at the retreat included the Centre’s Code of Conduct, the United Nation Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women, the portrayal of women in media, and dealing with challenges to service provision.
“To me personally, the main barriers and challenges are the society’s attitudes to this issue. Some people do not want to talk about it, see it as private matters. And even some people deny that it happens. There is also a weak side from the law for even though the decrees and acts are there but they are not enforced. There is a need for proper legislations and the justice system to ensure that they are effective”, Lesila said.
The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre has been for over 20 years, with the newest branch opening in the northern part of Fiji, Rakiraki Women’s Crisis Centre (RWCC). They work closely with the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement to promote the empowerment of women in the Pacific.
“Men and women can stand together and work to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and fight for their rights as we are all equal.” The words of WCCC Administration and Communication Officer, Tupou M. Lanumata after attending the Regional Training Programme in Suva Fiji.
The month-long training aimed to educate people about strategies on how to eliminate violence against women and children. It consisted of 38 participants from the region, namely Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga and Fiji. It was organized by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) with their Director, Shamima Ali as the lead facilitator.
Lanumata indicated that the training taught her that there are many different forms of Violence Against Women. “It was a great opportunity for me to attend this very useful and enlightening training that has given me so much information to really help me with the work that I’m doing”.
WCCC staff came back with new ideas for their work in the broader Tongan community. “Violence is a reality for many Tongan women and children. We have to work together with relevant stakeholders and community in trying to address Violence Against Women, by conducting more awareness in the communities and to advance change” said Lanumata.