WCCC activities and statistics – Year in Review – 2012

For 2012 a total number of 283 clients sought the centre’s support services, including women, children and male clients. Domestic violence continues to be the most common source of support provided by WCCC, although reported cases of child abuse in 2012 have increased as have sexual violence cases including higher incidences of incest, rape, and sexual assault compared to previous year.

It has only been three years since the centre has been established yet WCCC’s statistics reflect the broader society trend in which more people are reporting incidences of violence against women.

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The high peak season is noted between the months of February – August. However the high number of cases received in April is an anomaly – a large number of cases were referred to the centre in April although the incidents for referral occurred over a series of months. Therefore this peak is an exaggerated version of events.

The high peak season of August reflects the high numbers of reporting during the festivals that fall during this part of the year including the Heilala festival.

Low peak season is noted on the months January ands December. Family obligations impact on the time and availability of women to report, which sees a dip in reporting during the beginning of the school year and also during church events of the year, where women often feel that obligations placed on them peak during this time, which they will priorities these obligations to their family and church obligations before their own welfare.

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neglect continues to be the most common reported form of child abuse. Other forms of child abuse, such as child sexual abuse, continue to be underreported with significant barriers making it difficult to report the actual level of these crimes. Barriers include a lack of appropriate legislation – without a Child Protection Act service providers have no legal baking to enter a situation if permission is not granted from a child’s direct guardians. Other barriers include a lack of trained personnel in institutions that work with children (such as teachers and health practitioners) to identify signs of abuse in children. Social stigma around reporting neglect is also significantly lower than reporting other types of child abuse, with significant causal factors of child neglect incorporating concepts that are culturally acceptable to discuss, such as poverty and hardship. Causal factors in other forms of child abuse are less culturally acceptable to discuss, with the role of the guardian of the child brought into question.

Despite increases in reported cases this year, cases of incest and rape continue to be underreported. Traditional taboos result in significant barriers to victims reporting these serious crimes- victims may feel embarrassed and frightened, and may know individuals in the institutions that they are reporting to. It is also highly likely that the victim will know the perpetrator of the crime – sexual violence is most commonly committed by an individual that is known to the perpetrator. Knowledge of the perpetrator can also be a significant barrier to reporting, with the victim concerned about ongoing relationships with the perpetrator and broader societal values of speaking out against the perpetrator.

Overall the crimes of violence against women and children that are committed – including domestic violence, child abuse and sexual abuse – are the result of gender inequalities between male and female partnerships. Analysis of the ‘the reasons for violence’ category for WCCC cases indicates that a pattern of male dominance and cultural patriarchy exists and is a significant factor in the majority of cases.

Women, who do not posses the same level of financial security as men and often feel the brunt of the social stigma about divorce, are often hesitant to leave violent relationships.

The system of patriarchy has a two fold impact on society’s ability to address violence against women. Firstly, patriarchy feeds into and encourages broadly held societal values that women are not of equal value to men. These attitudes result in increases in crimes of violence against women. Secondly, the patriarchal system discourages women from reporting crimes as they do not feel entitled to make a complaint, believing that their role in society is not of equal value to men, and that the opinion of men will be regarded as superior to their own.

Contributing factors data is collected by WCCC to document the reasons behind why violence occurs. Note that they are not comprehensive reasons, nor are they causes for violence, they are an aspect or feature that contribute to the violence occurring. There are different types of contributing factors that the centre uses namely: Jealousy/Power Control, Family Problems, Financial, Extra Marital Affairs, Drugs/ Alcohol and other.

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clients can be referred from many sources. The majority of clients are referred to WCCC from the Ministry of Police Domestic Violence Unit, the Ministry of Health Hospital referrals and other NGOs and relevant entities, such as district nurses. Clients also come in of their own accord, having heard about WCCC in the media, or by word of mouth – which is collected in our statistics as walk in clients.

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WCCC is based in Fanga ‘O Pilolevu on Tongatapu. Serious cases from outer islands are referred by the Police, but the vast majority of services are provided to those on Tongatapu. Please consider these when looking at the following demographic statistics, as it is not a comprehensive reflection of all of Tonga. The highest numbers of WCCC clients come from the town district and Mu’a, which has a Domestic Violence Unit at the district Police Station.

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mo’ui ke Fiefia Safe house statistics

46 Women and Children have stayed at the safe house in 2012. The free, temporary housing at the safe house is only provided by WCCC to those clients who are deemed high risk and in need of a safe place to stay. A comprehensive life skills program is being developed within the safe house to help provide further development for women and children using the centre’s services.

Number of clients at the Safe House

Women Children Total
20 26 46

 

The safe house has survived due to ongoing community support. All furniture, clothing and food at the Safe House have been donated.

Community Awareness

WCCC statistics indicate that community awareness programs, media, and advocacy programs have led to increased awareness of the centre’s services and how it supports women and children in need.  Awareness programs were conducted at 11 communities, 53 at Hospital and 22 schools during the year as well as at Vaiola Hospital.

Due to the centre’s financial status workshops were kept to a minimum. The more cost effective methods of community awareness were employed – conducting sessions and door knocking in communities which are also viewed as appropriate awareness mechanisms to discuss the topics that WCCC advocates for, which are often considered culturally taboo. Ongoing awareness was also conducted at Vaiola Hospital which involves educating health professionals to recognize signs of abuse and to encourage referrals. School awareness involves dedicating time in school assemblies to WCCC, in which the students are broken into groups of boys and girls, and the services and work of WCCC is discussed. Monitoring and evaluation is incorporated into each of these programs with a variety of feedback indicating that WCCC’s core message is being relayed; that violence is never acceptable.

The male advocacy program is also run on a minimal budget. The WCCC male advocate attended faikava at a number of communities where he and a large group of men were able to discuss issues regarding DV/VAW. This was free of charge and also convenient because they were able to talk on different views simply spreading the message.

Community Awareness and Advocacy Statistics

 Who?  School  Community/Villages   Vaiola Awareness  Female  Male  TOTAL
Community Education Team 22 Awareness Program 11 Awareness Program 2344 1663 4007
Vaiola Awareness 53  Vaiola awareness Programs 4 3755 3759
Male Advocacy 7 Faikava Program and 1 Potalanoa session 10 35 45
 TOTAL  22 19 53 2358 5453 7811

 

It is anticipated that the trend of increased reporting will continue in 2013 as community awareness about all forms of abuse increases.

For more details contact 22 240 or email: wccrisiscentre@gmail.com

 

 

WCCC activities and statistics – Year in Review – 2011

For 2011 a total number of 262 clients sought the centre’s support services, including women, children and male clients. Domestic violence continues to be the most common source of support provided by WCCC, although reported cases of child abuse in 2011 have increased as have sexual violence cases including higher incidences of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

It has only been two years since the centre has been established yet WCCC’s statistics reflect the broader society trend in which more people are reporting incidences of violence against women.

 

Case Type Number of Cases
Domestic Violence 193
Sexual ViolenceRape-5 5
Child Abuse-17Neglect- 36 53
Sexual Harassment 10
General Assault 1

 

 Type of cases and Number of cases

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of cases each month for 2011

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The high peak season is noted between the months of January – August. However the high number of cases received in August is an anomaly – a large number of cases were referred to the centre in August although the incidents for referral occurred over a series of months. Therefore this peak is an exaggerated version of events.

The high peak season of August reflects the high numbers of reporting during the festivals that fall during this part of the year including the Heilala festival.

 

Total number of cases each month for 2011

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low peak season is noted between the months March – April, November – December. Family obligations impact on the time and availability of women to report, which sees a dip in reporting during the beginning of the school year and also during church events of the year, where women often feel that obligations placed on them peak during this time, which they will priorities these obligations to their family and church obligations before their own welfare.

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neglect continues to be the most common reported form of child abuse. Other forms of child abuse, such as child sexual abuse, continue to be underreported with significant barriers making it difficult to report the actual level of these crimes. Barriers include a lack of appropriate legislation – without a Child Protection Act service providers have no legal baking to enter a situation if permission is not granted from a child’s direct guardians. Other barriers include a lack of trained personnel in institutions that work with children (such as teachers and health practitioners) to identify signs of abuse in children. Social stigma around reporting neglect is also significantly lower than reporting other types of child abuse, with significant causal factors of child neglect incorporating concepts that are culturally acceptable to discuss, such as poverty and hardship. Causal factors in other forms of child abuse are less culturally acceptable to discuss, with the role of the guardian of the child brought into question.

Despite increases in reported cases this year, cases of rape and sexual harassment continue to be underreported. Traditional taboos result in significant barriers to victims reporting these serious crimes- victims may feel embarrassed and frightened, and may know individuals in the institutions that they are reporting to. It is also highly likely that the victim will know the perpetrator of the crime – sexual violence is most commonly committed by an individual that is known to the perpetrator. Knowledge of the perpetrator can also be a significant barrier to reporting, with the victim concerned about ongoing relationships with the perpetrator and broader societal values of speaking out against the perpetrator.

Overall the crimes of violence against women and children that are committed – including domestic violence, child abuse and sexual abuse – are the result of gender inequalities between male and female partnerships. Analysis of the ‘the reasons for violence’ category for WCCC cases indicates that a pattern of male dominance and cultural patriarchy exists and is a significant factor in the majority of cases.

Women, who do not posses the same level of financial security as men and often feel the brunt of the social stigma about divorce, are often hesitant to leave violent relationships.

The system of patriarchy has a two fold impact on society’s ability to address violence against women. Firstly, patriarchy feeds into and encourages broadly held societal values that women are not of equal value to men. These attitudes result in increases in crimes of violence against women. Secondly, the patriarchal system discourages women from reporting crimes as they do not feel entitled to make a complaint, believing that their role in society is not of equal value to men, and that the opinion of men will be regarded as superior to their own.

Contributing factors data is collected by WCCC to document the reasons behind why violence occurs. Note that they are not comprehensive reasons, nor are they causes for violence, they are an aspect or feature that contribute to the violence occurring. There are different types of contributing factors that the centre uses namely: Jealousy/Power Control, Family Problems, Financial, Extra Marital Affairs, Drugs/ Alcohol and other.

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clients can be referred from many sources. The majority of clients are referred to WCCC from the Ministry of Police Domestic Violence Unit, the Ministry of Health Hospital referrals and other NGOs and relevant entities, such as district nurses. Clients also come in of their own accord, having heard about WCCC in the media, or by word of mouth – which is collected in our statistics as walk in clients.

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WCCC is based in Fanga ‘O Pilolevu on Tongatapu. Serious cases from outer islands are referred by the Police, but the vast majority of services are provided to those on Tongatapu. Please consider these when looking at the following demographic statistics, as it is not a comprehensive reflection of all of Tonga. The highest numbers of WCCC clients come from the town / inner city district and Mu’a, which has a Domestic Violence Unit at the district Police Station.

 

WCCC Clients by district

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clients by Religion

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New cases make up the majority of work that WCCC does, with ongoing cases accounting for 4% of the counselor’s caseload.

 

Mo’ui ke Fiefia Safe house statistics

44 Women and Children have stayed at the safe house in 2011. The ‘accompanying children’ category indicates that the children are not clients of the centre – they came with their mother’s who are the clients of the centre. The free, temporary housing at the safe house is only provided by WCCC to those clients who are deemed high risk and in need of a safe place to stay. A comprehensive life skills program is being developed within the safe house to help provide further development for women and children using the centre’s services.

 

Number of clients at the Safe House

Women

Children Accompanying Children

Total

14

5 25 44

 

The safe house has survived due to ongoing community support. All furniture, clothing and food at the Safe House have been donated.

 

Client to counselor ratio

10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Client to Counselor per month

Approximately, each counselor has an average of 15-20 clients per month. This enables each counselor to conduct follow up actions with each of their clients and check how their cases are progressing. Although it has only been a year since the centre has established it has been a busy year for the centre.

It is therefore unhealthy for each counselor to take care of more than 15 clients a month but due to the fact that the centre received a total of 262 clients last year still our counselors were able to help and support their clients through their court cases, conducting home visits and also follow up actions by phone.

Community Awareness

WCCC statistics indicate that community awareness programs, media, and advocacy programs have led to increased awareness of the centre’s services and how it supports women and children in need.  Awareness programs were conducted at 5 communities, 45 at Hospital and 11 schools during the year as well as at Vaiola Hospital.

Due to the centre’s financial status workshops were kept to a minimum. The more cost effective methods of community awareness were employed – conducting sessions and door knocking in communities which are also viewed as appropriate awareness mechanisms to discuss the topics that WCCC advocates for, which are often considered culturally taboo. Ongoing awareness was also conducted at Vaiola Hospital which involves educating health professionals to recognize signs of abuse and to encourage referrals. School awareness involves dedicating time in school assemblies to WCCC, in which the students are broken into groups of boys and girls, and the services and work of WCCC is discussed. Monitoring and evaluation is incorporated into each of these programs with a variety of feedback indicating that WCCC’s core message is being relayed; that violence is never acceptable.

The male advocacy program is also run on a minimal budget. The WCCC male advocate attended faikava at a number of communities where he and a large group of men were able to discuss issues regarding DV/VAW. This was free of charge and also convenient because they were able to talk on different views simply spreading the message.

Community Awareness and Advocacy Statistics

Who? School Community/Villages Vaiola Awareness Media Programs Male Advocacy Workshop Female/Male Children
Community Education Team 10 Awareness Program 4 Awareness Program 1 TV & Radio Program 242 1868
Vaiola Awareness 1 Awareness Program 1 Awareness Program 45 Vaiola awareness Programs 2704 19
Male Advocacy Pepertrator Program7 1 TV & Radio Program
TOTAL 11 12 45 2 2946 1887

 

It is anticipated that the trend of increased reporting will continue in 2012 as community awareness about all forms of abuse increases.

For more details contact 22 240 or email: wccrisiscentre@gmail.com

 

 

WCCC Activities and Statistics – Year in Review – 2010

For 2010 a total number of 354 clients sought the centre’s support services, including women, children and male clients. Domestic violence continues to be the most common source of support provided by WCCC, although reported cases of child abuse in 2010 have increased as have sexual violence cases including higher incidences of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

It has only been a year since the centre has been established yet WCCC’s statistics reflect the broader society trend in which more people are reporting incidences of violence against women.  A total number of 354 clients sought the services of the centre, with an increased reporting trend occurring throughout the year.

Type of cases and number of cases
Case Type and Number of Cases

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of cases each month for 2010

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The high peak season is noted between the months of May, Aug- December. However the high number of cases received in May is an anomaly – a large number of cases were referred to the centre in May although the incidents for referral occurred over a series of months. Therefore this peak is an exaggerated version of events.
The high peak season of August – December reflects the high numbers of reporting during the festivals that fall during this part of the year including the Heilala festival and Christmas festivities.

 

Total number of cases each month for 2010

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low peak season is noted between the months Jan-April, June – July. Family obligations impact on the time and availability of women to report, which sees a dip in reporting during the beginning of the school year and also during church events of the year, where women often feel that obligations placed on them peak during this time, which they will priorities these obligations to their family and church obligations before their own welfare.

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neglect continues to be the most common reported form of child abuse. Other forms of child abuse, such as child sexual abuse, continue to be underreported with significant barriers making it difficult to report the actual level of these crimes. Barriers include a lack of appropriate legislation – without a Child Protection Act service providers have no legal baking to enter a situation if permission is not granted from a child’s direct guardians. Other barriers include a lack of trained personnel in institutions that work with children (such as teachers and health practitioners) to identify signs of abuse in children. Social stigma around reporting neglect is also significantly lower than reporting other types of child abuse, with significant causal factors of child neglect incorporating concepts that are culturally acceptable to discuss, such as poverty and hardship. Causal factors in other forms of child abuse are less culturally acceptable to discuss, with the role of the guardian of the child brought into question.

Despite increases in reported cases this year, cases of rape and sexual harassment continue to be underreported. Traditional taboos result in significant barriers to victims reporting these serious crimes- victims may feel embarrassed and frightened, and may know individuals in the institutions that they are reporting to. It is also highly likely that the victim will know the perpetrator of the crime – sexual violence is most commonly committed by an individual that is known to the perpetrator. Knowledge of the perpetrator can also be a significant barrier to reporting, with the victim concerned about ongoing relationships with the perpetrator and broader societal values of speaking out against the perpetrator.

Overall the crimes of violence against women and children that are committed – including domestic violence, child abuse and sexual abuse – are the result of gender inequalities between male and female partnerships. Analysis of the ‘the reasons for violence’ category for WCCC cases indicates that a pattern of male dominance and cultural patriarchy exists and is a significant factor in the majority of cases.

Women, who do not posses the same level of financial security as men and often feel the brunt of the social stigma about divorce, are often hesitant to leave violent relationships.

The system of patriarchy has a two fold impact on society’s ability to address violence against women. Firstly, patriarchy feeds into and encourages broadly held societal values that women are not of equal value to men. These attitudes result in increases in crimes of violence against women. Secondly, the patriarchal system discourages women from reporting crimes as they do not feel entitled to make a complaint, believing that their role in society is not of equal value to men, and that the opinion of men will be regarded as superior to their own. This sentiment may be best summed up by a client who reported a case of sexual harassment in the workplace:

“That day I felt so afraid that I can’t sleep at night for few weeks, I felt dirty and angry and when they were laughing at me I felt used ‘ little and without dignity, I also felt frustrated thinking that I can’t do anything about it, that I am powerless  in this situation…”

Contributing factors data is collected by WCCC to document the reasons behind why violence occurs. Note that they are not comprehensive reasons, nor are they causes for violence, they are an aspect or feature that contribute to the violence occurring. There are different types of contributing factors that the centre uses namely: Jealousy/Power Control, Family Problems, Financial, Extra Marital Affairs, Drugs/ Alcohol and other.

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clients can be referred from many sources. The majority of clients are referred to WCCC from the Ministry of Police Domestic Violence Unit, the Ministry of Health Hospital referrals and other NGOs and relevant entities, such as district nurses. Clients also come in of their own accord, having heard about WCCC in the media, or by word of mouth – which is collected in our statistics as walk in clients.

 

DVU Police referrals, Hospital referrals and Walk in Clients

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WCCC is based in Fanga ‘O Pilolevu on Tongatapu. Serious cases from outer islands are referred by the Police, but the vast majority of services are provided to those on Tongatapu. Please consider these when looking at the following demographic statistics, as it is not a comprehensive reflection of all of Tonga. The highest numbers of WCCC clients come from the town / inner city district and Mu’a, which has a Domestic Violence Unit at the district Police Station.

 

WCCC Clients by district

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clients by Religion

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case type: New vs. Ongoing

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New cases make up the majority of work that WCCC does, with ongoing cases accounting for 6% of the counselor’s caseload.

Mo’ui ke Fiefia Safe house statistics

46 Women and Children have stayed at the safe house in 2010. The ‘accompanying children’ category indicates that the children are not clients of the centre – they came with their mother’s who are the clients of the centre. The free, temporary housing at the safe house is only provided by WCCC to those clients who are deemed high risk and in need of a safe place to stay. A comprehensive life skills program is being developed within the safe house to help provide further development for women and children using the centre’s services.

Number of clients at the Safe House

Women

Children Accompanying Children

Total

11 9 26

46

The safe house has survived due to ongoing community support. All furniture, clothing and food at the Safe House have been donated.

Client to Counselor per month

Approximately, each counselor has an average of 10-15 clients per month. This enables each counselor to conduct follow up actions with each of their clients and check how their cases are progressing. Although it has only been a year since the centre has established it has been a busy year for the centre.

Client to counselor ratio

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is therefore unhealthy for each counselor to take care of more than 10 clients a month but due to the fact that the centre received a total of 354 clients last year still our counselors were able to help and support their clients through their court cases, conducting home visits and also follow up actions by phone.

 

Community Awareness

WCCC statistics indicate that community awareness programs, media, and advocacy programs have led to increased awareness of the centre’s services and how it supports women and children in need.  Awareness programs were conducted at 24 communities and 12 schools during the year as well as at Vaiola Hospital.  In addition two Male Advocacy workshops were conducted, with the support of UNFPA and the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre.

Due to the centre’s financial status workshops were kept to a minimum. The more cost effective methods of community awareness were employed – conducting sessions and door knocking in communities which are also viewed as appropriate awareness mechanisms to discuss the topics that WCCC advocates for, which are often considered culturally taboo. Ongoing awareness was also conducted at Vaiola Hospital which involves educating health professionals to recognize signs of abuse and to encourage referrals. School awareness involves dedicating time in school assemblies to WCCC, in which the students are broken into groups of boys and girls, and the services and work of WCCC is discussed. Monitoring and evaluation is incorporated into each of these programs with a variety of feedback indicating that WCCC’s core message is being relayed; that violence is never acceptable.

 

The male advocacy program is also run on a minimal budget. The WCCC male advocate attended faikava at a number of communities where he and a large group of men were able to discuss issues regarding DV/VAW. This was free of charge and also convenient because they were able to talk on different views simply spreading the message.

 

The Inspiring Young Empowered Leaders program (I-YEL)creates a safe space that aims to encourage, prepare, and challenge young people from diverse backgrounds to be advocates for human rights with a special focus on women and children’s rights, environmental and social change and the overall goal of promoting the elimination of violence against women and children.   Although initiated by the WCCC in 2010, funds have been limited and so it is envisaged that with more support in the near future the I-YEL program will grow into a credible and professional program for young women in Tonga.  Ideally, the young women who receive support and training in planning and implementing projects that create positive change in their communities. Through leadership development, career exploration and goal setting, I-YEL participants acquire the skills necessary to be the teachers and leaders of today and the future.

                                Community Awareness and Advocacy Statistics

Who? School Community/Villages Vaiola Awareness Media Programs Male Advocacy Workshop Female Male
Community Education Team 14 Schools 12 Communities/ Villages 3,601 2,234
Vaiola Awareness 21 Vaiola awareness Programs 1,021 94
Male Advocacy 12 Communities/ Villages 4 Media Programs 2 Male advocacy workshops 409
TOTAL 14 24 21  4 2 4,622 2,737

2010 witnessed the first sex trafficking case for the Kingdom, in line with increasing rates of reported cases of sex trafficking in the Pacific. Sex trafficking is when a person is  held against their will and forced into committing sexual acts in exchange for gifts or money. It is anticipated that the trend of increased reporting will continue in 2011 as community awareness about all forms of abuse increases.

For more details contact 22 240 or email: wccrisiscentre@gmail.com

 

Case Studies

“He told me not to tell anyone”

First hand account of violence from a client at WCCC.

I was 15 when my father began treating me in a way that was morally wrong. He would touch me and say things that you should not say to your daughter. He told me not to tell anyone, especially anyone on my mother’s side of the family.

I always knew that it was not right – but he is my father.

It made me feel very alone. I felt different to my brothers and sisters. I still feel shame for what has happened.

Now I am 19, and I finally had the courage to tell my aunty on my mother’s side about the way my father was treating me. Straight away she told me that we must go to the police, and I was happy to go with her. I was very happy that my aunty listened and understood. I feel that she cares for my safety.

The police took me to the Crisis Centre so that I could stay in the safe house. It is difficult with my family right now. I feel safe and free here at the safe house. Freedom is very important to me – it is a big change from my recent past. I hope that my future will always be free.

e

Stop Violence Against Women

MEDIA RELEASE

12 June 2014

STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

The Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) is gravely concerned about the recent alleged rape that occurred in Sopu on the 11 June 2014.

In a news item released on the Matangi Tonga website, the Commissioner for Police, Grant O’ Fee said that this was unusual for Tonga and it is not the sort offending we get frequently.

The WCCC has recorded a steady increase of sexual violations being reported to the centre this year. “I think we’re just scratching the surface in terms of sexual violations, especially among women and girls – the incident that occurred yesterday was a grave violation of the victim’s human rights on so many levels, said ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Director of the Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC).

Violence against women violates fundamental human rights and is an affront to women’s inherent human dignity. Physical, psychological, and sexual violence against women and girls, public and private, plagues all societies and classes and poses tremendous obstacles to the achievement of equality, development and peace.

Every single person in Tonga has an obligation to prevent and stop any form of violence against women and to prevent violence against women wherever it occurs, says Guttenbeil-Likiliki.

The WCCC urges anyone who may have information about the said incident to contact Police Inspector Taulango Tapueluelu of the Crimes Investigation Unit on 23083 or cell phone 841-4647 for any information that could help them locate the suspects.

 

[ENDS]

 

For further comments or information on this press release please contact the Director at director@tongawccc.org or telephone +676 22240

[gview file=”http://tongawccc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/MEDIA-RELEASE_JUNE_2014.pdf”]

Violence Against Women: It’s not Tongan culture nor religious based

Young men in Tonga attending the Male Advocacy on Eliminating Violence Against Women Stage I Training since Tuesday have been undergoing intensive training on gender equality and sensitivity, women’s human rights, domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, sexual harassment and child sexual abuse.

Three days into the training the young men agreed that violence
against women is not part of Tongan culture neither is it based on
religious teachings, following a discussion based on “does culture and religion have a part to play in condoning violence against women?”

Many of the participants told the lead trainer Shamima Ali of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre that they believed that culture and religion is just used as an excuse to condone the violence, however they felt that after going through the gender training where they named the violence and heard from the experiences of survivors through examples and case studies presented  – that they strongly believed that violence against women is a result of gender in-equality and the imbalance of power structures,

“….how can we say that rape or kicking and bashing women is part of our culture?   If that is what we are saying then Tongan culture is nothing to be proud about,” said one of the youngest participants.

During the opening ceremony on Tuesday, the Guest of Honour, Rev.
Makisi Finau said that “we must always remember one of the fundamental
principles of Christianity “that we are all equal in God’s eyes which
means we all should enjoy the same rights whether you are a man, woman
or child.”

Meanwhile the training has also encouraged the young men to understand
the core principles of human rights where they have been able to make
the linkages to violence against women.

The participants represent a wide cross section of Tongan society –
including Police men, ministry leaders, youth and health workers and
other Non Government Organisations.   The four day workshop is being
held at Molitoni Hall in Kolomotu’a and ends on Friday.

The training  was possible through the suport of UNFPA and AusAID.
The Male Advocacy Program and Training is an initiative of the Pacific
Network Against Violence Against Women.

(ENDS)

For more information on the Tonga training please contact ‘Ofa on +676
22 240 or email wccrisiscentre@gmail.com  or for more information on
the Male Advocacy Program and Training Stages please contact the FWCC.

 

Building networks for Pacific women in media

Freedom of the media continues to be an ideal that is far from the reality of the Pacific experience.

Women from Pacific mainstream, civil society, academia, community and advocacy media from 13 Pacific nations including Australia and New Zealand attended the ‘Media Freedom@Work’ meeting which supports safety, excellence and leadership networks for Pacific Women in media to foster media which is free from influence.

 

The meeting was held at the School of Journalism and Communications, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia as part of the lead-in events to the global commemoration of the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) in 2010, which was hosted for the first time in the Pacific.

 

The historic inaugural meeting reaffirmed the need for and endorsed the Pacific WAVE (Women Advancing a Vision of Empowerment) Media Network, which builds a strong collective voice for Pacific women in media, building a better and stronger future for all by promoting professional excellence and leadership and gender advocacy.

 

Director of the WCCC ‘Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki presented at the meeting and urged all parties in the media to work together to promote positive social change. “Pacific media organizations and practitioners should work together to uphold commitments to, and practice of ethics in journalism. This goes hand in hand with a respect for the rights and dignity of all women– so the images of women in media and society reflect the need to end all discrimination in social, economic, political and cultural life” said Guttenbeil-Likiliki.

The full outcomes document of the meeting are available [gview file=”http://tongawccc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Media-Freedom.docx”]

 

SPC – Regional Right Resource Team: RRRT’s Tonga Officer tasked to draft implementation plan for Family Protection Act

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community Regional Rights Resource Team (SPC RRRT) In-county Focal Officer for Tonga, Lepolo Taunisila, has been tasked to coordinate the process of drafting the implementation plan for Tonga’s Family Protection Act (2013) together with other members of a newly established implementation taskforce for the act.

‘I am humbled by the Solicitor General’s decision to entrust me with this very important responsibility,’ she said.

‘The passing of the act in 2013 is a great achievement for the people of Tonga, but this is not the end, implementing the act to make a difference in people’s lives is equally or more important for a safer Tonga. And therefore we aim to draft an effective implementation plan that will assist us implement the act in Tonga,’ Ms Taunisila said.

The Lord Minister of Internal Affairs, Lord Vaea, approved the establishment of the Implementation Taskforce for the Family Protection Act (2013) this month and approved its terms of reference, membership and outputs.

‘The formation of the Implementation Taskforce is the final step we needed to take in preparing government ministries and civil society organisations for the coming into force of the Family Protection Act on 1 July 2014, which is designed to protect all the members of the family from Domestic Violence,’ CEO of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Lopeti Senituli, said.

In addition to Ms Taunsila, who is based in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the members of the taskforce include the Solicitor General, Deputy CEO of the Women’s Affairs Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, representatives from Ministry of Police, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Tonga National Centre for Women and Children, Women and Children Crisis Centre, Ma’a Fafine moe Famili and the Secretary of the National Forum of Church Leaders. It is chaired by the CEO of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The taskforce officially began its work from 6 January and will continue until 31 July 2014. One of the major outputs is a range of training programmes to be provided for police officers and prosecutors, court and judicial officers, health practitioners and counsellors, teachers, and social service providers, on their specific roles as spelled out in the Family Protection Act. The taskforce will submit progress reports every two months to the Minister for Internal Affairs.

The work of the taskforce will be funded by the respective stakeholders who are members of the taskforce, but financial and technical assistance is being sought from development partners for the specialised training programmes.

The CEO for the Ministry of Internal Affairs said, ‘We are indebted to the Solicitor General and his staff for their leadership and support in having the Family Protection Act approved by the Legislative Assembly in 2013, and now for the preparation of the implementation plan for the FPA.’

Source: Tonga’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, Media release, 22 January 2014

 

Call for the prompt return of Mr. Chris Kelly

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.

[ENDS]

For more information please contact ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki on ofa.guttenbeil@gmail.com

 

A safe haven

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!