Barriers to Safety and Justice

The client is a 34 year old woman living in Tongatapu. Her husband had continuously beaten and abused her during their married life. At one time her husband even slashed her with a knife. He was a very possessive man. She had previously been beaten with a glass bottle and as a result she and her husband were always in and out of court. She had reported most beatings to the police but since her husband had many good friends at the police station, her cases always seemed like a lost cause. Each time they appeared in court, the Police Prosecutor would have no previous files on her husband, so the Magistrate would always sentence him as if it were the first time he appeared before the court.

Finally she heard of the WCCC and after one brutal beating she escaped and found refuge at the centre. She received immediate counselling and advocacy support. This time, her Counsellor Advocate and the Police Officer stationed at WCCC ensured that her husband’s previous files were presented in court. However, the court again failed this victim because it took into consideration a plea from a church leader regarding the perpetrator’s character and his attempt to seek counselling.

The WCCC is continuing to provide counselling to the client, and will monitor and document closely the attitude and behaviour of the perpetrator through the counselling process.