SPC marks Human Rights Day with national awards in six Pacific countries

10 December 2013

Human Righs foto

Suva – To mark International Human Rights Day today, 10 December 2014, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is partnering with government ministries in the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu, to present individuals and organisations with Human Rights Awards.

‘The National Human Rights Awards initiative is aimed at rewarding and celebrating outstanding work in human rights in the Pacific region and also to send a clear message to human rights defenders that the Pacific community is grateful for, and supports, their tireless efforts to promote human rights for all,’ the Deputy Director of SPC’s Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), Mark Atterton, said.

The theme for the awards is ‘human rights in everyday life’, which covers many aspects of our daily lives, including rights to food, shelter, education, health, protection, freedom of expression and many more.

The Pacific is not immune to human rights violations, with violence against women a critical concern for the region.  According to studies by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with SPC, the Pacific region has some of the highest rates of violence against women in the world.

National studies in 2009 and 2010, in Samoa, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu, indicate that the rates of intimate partner violence are as high as 60 to 70%. Inadequate laws and policies fail to protect women and their families, and impact adversely on the development of a country.

At a recent SPC-RRRT regional lawyers’ consultation, former high court judge in Fiji, Madam Mere Pulea, encouraged lawyers of the region to ‘be at the forefront to challenge inequalities and discrimination faced by women, and to play a critical role for the benefit of society.’

‘The need to champion gender equality is pivotal to the development and realisation of human rights, and to sustainable development in the region,’ said Mark Atterton.

SPC RRRT won the prestigious UNICEF Maurice Pate Award in 1998 for its pioneering work in promoting human rights education for women and children in the Pacific. Since then, SPC RRRT has been offering the Pacific Human Rights Awards to encourage the development of a human rights culture that will protect the rights and promote the well-being of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

 

 

The 2014 national awards include:

 

Kiribati

Rikiaua Takeke

Special recognition for highlighting the right to religion through the documentation of Catechist Tikarerei Takirua’s life story of service to the people of Kiribati.

 

Selaina Tekonnang

Special recognition for highlighting the right to marriage and to be free from violence through poetry.

 

Wayne Uan

Special recognition for highlighting the right to participate in any community activities without distinction of any kind such as sex, colour, race, religion or other status.

 

Samoa

Aoga Fiamalamalama

Special recognition for promoting the right of a child to education in Samoa, including children with disabilities, through role play.

 

Deborah Jacinta Leu’o

Special recognition for promoting human rights in Samoa through creative drawing.

 

Faaolo Utumapu-Utailesolo

Special recognition for highlighting the rights of persons with disabilities through the documentation of her personal life story.

 

Hemiriah Ioane

Special recognition for highlighting the right to education through creative writing.

 

Nu’ufou Isaia

Special recognition for promoting the right to education for children with disabilities in Samoa, through visual art.

 

Piu Maneralokina Filipo

Special recognition for highlighting human rights through creative writing.

 

Samoa Fa’afafine Association

In recognition of the contribution to the promotion of the human rights of marginalised groups, including Fa’afafine and LGBTI groups in Samoa.

 

Samoa National Youth Council

Special recognition for promoting the right to be heard and of freedom of expression in Samoa through audio visual arts.

 

Samoa Returnees Charitable Trust

Contribution to advancing the right to freedom from discrimination of Samoan deportees rehabilitating in the community and in community outreach programmes.

 

Sinalaua Papatoetoe Tupolo

Special recognition for highlighting the right to education, respect and equality through the documentation of her personal life story.

 

Taiese Taiese

Special recognition for highlighting the right of children to social protection through creative writing.

 

Tiapapata Art Centre

Special recognition for advancing the right to develop life skills and the right to participate in cultural life, through the Breakthrough initiative, aimed at supporting people affected by trauma and abuse.

 

Solomon Islands

Br. Gorge Van Der Sant

Special recognition for contribution to advancing the right to education for young persons with disabilities in Solomon Islands.

 

Community Based Rehabilitation Unit

Special recognition for contribution to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities in Solomon Islands.

 

Tonga

Women and Children Crisis Centre

Special recognition for advancing the rights of girls in Tonga to be free from domestic violence and sexual abuse.

 

Talitha Girls

Special recognition for highlighting the rights of single mothers to education and to be respected with equal opportunity.

 

Elenga Mailangi

Special recognition for highlighting the right to employment and family support in Tonga.

 

Tuvalu

Fusi Alofa Association

Special Recognition for contribution to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities in Tuvalu.

 

Talafai Youth Group

Special recognition for contribution to advancing the rights of children to education through support to pre-school building construction on the island of Nanumago, Tuvalu.

 

SPC RRRT works to build a culture of human rights, and assists nation states to commit to, and observe, international human rights standards. SPC RRRT is a programme under the Social Development Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and is funded by the Australian Government.

 

For more information, please contact Jilda Shem, SPC RRRT Communications Officer, on +679 330 5994, or email jildas@spc.int

 

Tuku atu ‘e he Kominiueli ha Kulupu Vakai Tau’ataina ki he Fili Falealea ‘a e ‘Otu Solomone

Na’e fakaha ‘e he Sekelitali Seniale ‘a e Kominiueli , Kamalesh Sharma ‘e siofi ‘e he Kominiueli ‘a e Fili ‘a e ‘Otu Solomone ‘a ia ‘e fakahoko ‘i he ‘aho 19 ‘o Novema ,2014.

 

Na’e pehe ‘e Mr. Sharma , ko e Kulupu Vakai Tau’ataina ko eni mei he Kominiueli , ‘e taki atu ai ‘a Sir Mekere Morauta ko e Palemia fuoloa ‘o Papua Niukini. Ko hono ‘oatu ko eni ‘a e Kulupu ni makatu’unga mei he fakaafe mei he Komisiona Fili ‘a e ‘Otu Solomone.

 

“Ko e tangata’ifonua kotoa pe ‘o e Kominiueli ‘i mamani kau ai ‘a e ‘Otu Solomone , ‘oku ‘i ai ‘enau totonu kenau fili tau’ataina ‘o fakafuo mo fakafotunga ‘a e sosaieti ‘oku nau faka’amu kenau nofo ai. Ko e ‘aho 19 ‘o Novema ko e ‘aho ia ke fakahaa’i ai ‘e he toko taha Solomone kotoa pe ‘a ‘ene totonu ke fili tau’ataina mo melino foki,” ko e lau ia ‘a e Sekelitali Seniale.

 

“Ko e fili ni kuo pau ke ‘i he founga melino mo totonu koe’uhi ke ne fakahaa’i ‘a e loto totonu ‘o e kakai ‘o e ‘Otu Solomone. ‘A kinautolu kotoa ‘oku kaunga ki ai – ‘a e sino ‘oku ne pule’i ‘a e fili, kau taki ‘o e ngaahi paati fakapolitikale mo honau kau poupou, ngaahi kautaha le’o mo malu’i, ngaahi kautaha ongoongo, sosaieti sivile pea mo e kakai fili. ‘Oku totonu kenau taki taha fakahoko honau ngaahi fatongia totonu ‘i he ‘aho fili ke fakaha ‘e he founga mo e ola ‘a e mateuteu mo e falala ‘a e toko taha kotoa,” ko e fakaha ia ‘e Sharma.

 

‘E vakai ‘a e Kulupu ki he ‘atakai mo e ngaahi teuteu kotoa pe kimu’a he fili. ‘I he ‘aho fili mo e ‘osi ‘a e fili, te nau vakai ai ki he founga fakahoko ‘o e fili, lau ‘o e fili mo hono tanaki pehe ki hono fakaha ‘o e ola, ke taau mo e maama ‘o e ngaahi tu’unga fakavaha’apule’anga mo fakamamani lahi ‘o e fili fakatemokalati ‘a ia kuo tukupa ki ai e fonua.

 

‘I he fakahoko fatongia ‘a e Kulupu ni te nau tu’u tau’ataina ‘o ‘ikai kau ki ha fa’ahi pe paati pea muimui foki ki he ngaahi tu’utu’uni ‘a ia ‘oku ha ‘i he Tala Fakahaha Fakamamani lahi ki he Ngaahi Founga Ngaue ki he Vakai mo Siofi Tau’ataina ‘o e Fili ‘a ia ‘oku fakamo’oni ki ai ‘a e Kominiueli.

 

‘I he lava ‘enau ngaue, ‘e fakahu atu leva ‘e he Kulupu ‘enau lipooti ki he Sekelitali Seniale ‘o e Kominiueli ‘a ia tene toki tuku atu ‘e ia ki he Pule’anga Solomone, Komisiona Fili ‘a e ‘Otu Solomone, ngaahi paati fakapolitikale, ngaahi pule’anga ‘o e Kominiueli pea ki he kakai foki.

 

‘Oku ‘i Solomone ‘a e Kulupu mei he ‘aho 11 ki he ‘aho 29 ‘o Novema 2014. ‘E tokoni ki he Kulupu ha timi fakaSekelitali ‘a ia ‘e taki ai ‘a Albert Mariner, ko e ‘Ulu ia ‘o e Tafa’aki FakaPolitikale ‘o Kalipiane mo e Pasifiki.

 

“ Oku tukupa ‘a e Kominiueli ki he kakai ‘o e ‘Otu Solomone pea ‘e kei hokohoko atu ‘enau ngaue ke fakamalohi’i ‘a e ngaahi founga ngaue fakatemokalati pea mo e tulitulifua ki he’ene ngaahi kaveinga mo e taumu’a ngaue fakalakalaka ‘o fakatatau ki he ngaahi palani fakafonua pehe ki he ngaahi tefito’i tui mo e founga ngaue ‘a e Kominiueli ‘a ia ‘oku ha pe ia ‘i he Siate ‘a e Kominiueli, pea fengaue’aki fakataha foki mo e ngaahi hoa ngaue ‘o e fonua,” ko e fakamuimanoa ia ‘a e Sekelitali Seniale.

 

Ko e Kulupu Vakai Tau’ataina eni ‘a e Kominiueli ki he Fili ‘a Solomone;

 

Sea: Sir Mekere Morauta, Former Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea

  • Senator Linda Reynolds, Member of Parliament, Australia
  • David Lambourne, Legal Expert, Kiribati
  • Aiman Rasheed, Project Coordinator, Transparency Maldives, Maldives
  • John Hayes, Politician and Diplomat, New Zealand
  • Lydia Faisal, Lawyer and Human Rights Expert, Saint Lucia
  • Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke, Former Assistant Attorney General, Samoa
  • ‘Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil Likiliki, Gender Expert, Tonga
  • Jessica Babihuga Nkuuhe, Gender and Conflict Resolution Expert, Uganda
  • Vera Baird, Former General of England and Wales, United Kingdom.

 

 

Hoha’a WCCC ki he Ngaahi Tala Tu’utu’uni Tautea Ngaahi Hopo.

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

Hoha’a WCCC ki he Ngaahi Tala Tu’utu’uni Tautea Ngaahi Hopo.

 

[NUKU’ALOFA 10 NOVEMBER 2014] ‘Oku ‘i ai ‘a e hoha’a mo e tokanga ‘a e Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) ki he ngaahi tala tu’utu’uni ‘o e ngaahi hopo ‘e ni’ihi tautautefito ki he ngaahi hia pa’usi’i fakalielia ‘o e fanau iiki mo e tohotoho ( hufanga he fakatapu ). Ko e ngaahi hia mamafa eni pea ‘oku makatu’unga mei ai ‘a e hoha’a ni.

 

‘I he Nusipepa Tonga Weekly ‘aho 31 ‘Okatopa peesi 2 na’e ha ai ‘a e ‘Ulu’i tohi ko eni “ Malu’i Angalelei Tamai ki he fanau ‘e toko 2 ki he angahala’i ‘o ha ta’u si’i .” Pea mo e Matangi Tonga Online Pulelulu ‘aho 5 ‘o Novema , na’e ha ai ‘a e ‘ulu’i tohi ko e lava ‘a e ngaue ‘a e konga ua ‘o e ngaue ‘a e Fakamaau’anga Tangi. ‘I he tu’utu’uni koeni na’e ha ai ‘a e tali ‘o e tangi fekau’aki mo e tokotaha na’a ne tohotoho’i ha ki’i fefine na’e ‘ikai fu’u kakato ‘ene tukunga fakakaukau. Na’e tali ‘a e tangi ‘o holoki mei he ta’u ‘e 10 ki he ta’u ‘e 5 kae toloi ‘ a e ta’u ‘e taha ‘i ha ta’u ‘e 2 kae ngaue’i pe ‘a e ta’u ‘e 4.

 

‘Oku pehe ‘e he Talekita ‘o e WCCC ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki, “Oku faka’apa’apa’i pe ‘e he WCCC ‘a e ngaahi tu’utu’uni ni ka ko e hoha’a he ‘oku ngali fu’u si’isi’i ‘a e tautea fakatatau ki he hia. ‘E hanga ‘e he me’a ni ia ‘o faka’ai’ai e kakai fefine mo e fanau ‘oku hoko ki ai e faingata’a ni ke ‘oua ‘e toe omi ‘o lipooti he ‘oku hange ‘oku to’o ma’ama’a pe ‘a e tautea.”

 

Ko e taumu’a foki ‘o e tautea ke ne fakamanavahe’i mo fakateteki’i ha taha ‘oku fakakaukau ke ne fakahoko ha hia pehe ke tuku , he ko e me’a e ‘e iku ki ai. Ka ‘o kapau ko e anga e ‘o e tautea ke malu’i angalelei ‘a e ngaahi hia pehe, pea ‘oku ‘i ai ‘a e kole mo e faka’amu ‘a e Senitaa ki he kakai ‘o e fonua ke fai mai ha tokoni ketau fetakinima ‘o ngaue fakataha pea mou lea mai fekau’aki mo e kaveinga ni. He ‘oku fakatokanga’i ‘e he Senitaa ‘oku ‘alu pe taimi mo e fakautuutu mo e kaka ki ‘olunga ‘a e hia ki hono pa’usi’i fakalielia ‘o e longa’i fanau. Pea ‘oku totonu ketau tuku atu e fekau ki he kakai ‘o e fonua ‘oku ‘ikai ke tau tali ‘a e fa’ahinga to’onga ni ‘i he ngaahi tautea ‘oku tuku atu  mei he ngaahi hopo.

 

[ENDS]

 

Ka to e fie ma’u ha fakamatala fekau’aki pea mo e me’a ni, kataki ‘o fetu’utaki hangatonu mai pe ki he ‘emau ‘Ofisi kia Lesila Lokotui To’ia ‘i he telefoni 22240.

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.

 

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

 

It’s not ok: campaign launch

WCCC launches the ‘It’s not Ok’ campaign which says it is a crime to commit any violence against women and children. This includes domestic violence, child abuse, sexual harassment and rape.

WCCC counselor, Susana ‘Uhatafe said “it is time for us to start talking about the fact that it is not ok to remain silent about the things that are causing us stress in our private lives.  Domestic violence and child abuse are not matters to be sorted out privately. They are part of a problem that exists in our society – that each of us allows violence against women and children to take place.”

Domestic violence is any abusive behavior used by one partner in a relationship to gain and maintain control over another’s life. It can occur in any type of domestic relationship, including spousal relationships, intimate personal relationships, family relationships and informal care relationships. Under Tongan law, it is a crime to commit any kind of assault – it is not ok to commit domestic violence. ‘Uhatafe said “often in Tongan culture we hear that men feel they have the right to discipline their wives – it is not true. Men should never hit their wives, or feel that they have the right to ownership over their wives in any way.”

Child abuse and neglect occurs when a child is mistreated, resulting in injury or risk of harm. Abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional or sexual. Cases of neglect, incest and sexual child abuse are increasing in Tonga, with one 1 death in 2009 as a result of child abuse. As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child, and under Tonga’s Criminal Code, it is a crime to hurt a child. “We often hear this view that I was hit as a child, and I am fine, so I should be able to hit my children. At the centre we see cases where that has gone too far. It is not ok to promote violence towards children, or to create an environment in which any kind of tolerance towards violence is encouraged. But what we don’t see much of are other disciplinary actions – such as using time out or denying privileges to encourage positive behavior in children. There is room for development in these areas, of non-violent ways to encourage children ” said ‘Uhatafe.

Rape is non-consensual, forcible sexual relations or other sexual activity. Rape comes under the criminal code in Tonga and it is not ok to have forced sex with any person. Tonga reported its first case of sex trafficking in 2010. Sexual harassment is any behaviour/ gesture/ language that is persistent, unwelcome and is of a sexual nature. This includes requests for a sexual relationship, contact or favors together with an indirect or explicit promise of preferential treatment, or the threat of detrimental treatment if the request is declined. “People often feel that it is taboo to talk openly about any of these issues that are about sex in our society” said ‘Uhatafe, “but it is essential that people take a stand. It is not ok to be a victim of rape or sexual harassment; It is not ok to be living in a society that continues to commit acts of violence against women. I encourage all to stand with me and state that it is not ok”.

 

Revealed: 2010 statistics on Violence Against Women in Tonga

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.

The Full Statistics Report for 2010 is available here.

[gview file=”http://tongawccc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/WCCC-stats-2010.pdf”]
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Global Fund for Women 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.

 

Community Awareness and Advocacy Statistics

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.

Unreported cases on the rise

Since July 2010, the women and Children Crisis Centre has seen an increase in the number of unreported cases coming to the centre. Domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse cases are now accounting for 20% of the centre’s cases.

Unreported cases are those that are not referred to the Crisis Centre from the Police.

The longest staff member, Counsellor Susana ‘Utahafe, puts this down to a change in methodology. “we started a new direction – ‘think local’. We started to visit house to house in our communities. We talked about the services at the centre, and educated any one who was interested about what counselling is. I was amazed – I have known most of these people my whole life. But the number of clients we received was a considerable increase. Now we have made it a regular part of our services at WCCC to provide home visits” said Susana.

Since July, when the counsellors begun the local initiative, 20% of referrals have come directly from the communities that the counsellors of the centre are based in, with a significant increase in requests for follow up appointments. Direct community referrals of cases of incest and sexual assault have also been increasing. The figures surprised counsellors who are familiar with the considerable cultural taboo around talking about issues that have been classified as ‘private’ and ‘inappropriate’ to discuss even with the closest confidant.

“I think it is the fact that in their homes people feel more comfortable, and also talking to people they have known their whole lives. Our clients are so brave to talk” said ‘Utahafe.

The increase in community cases – which may or may not lead on to an official report, depending on the client’s desires –  has been combined with co-ordinated community response meetings being held every two weeks, which involve all service providers involved in providing for survivors of all forms of abuse.  The Crisis Centre’s new approach has been the centre of many discussions between providers  in Tonga– it has brought to light the fact that institutions  are not providing safe space for survivors to receive report in, and that traditional reporting mechanisms are not substantial for the level of violence that is being committed in communities.

These meetings peaked the interest of the Ministry of Police statistics department, who have requested that basic demographics of unreported cases are sent over monthly in order to better inform all involved. The information from these community cases, combined with the reported cases from traditional referral sources (both the Ministry of Police and the Hospital), has been an effective way to highlight the importance of each stage that a client is handled. “WCCC works through a human rights framework – the needs of the victim must be heard and addressed at all stages . As service providers we are here to empower these women in every way –  the trick is that there are so many gaps. We all have to work together to create the safest and most empowering environment for survivors of abuse” said ‘Utahafe.  The Ministry of Police is currently working with all service providers to co-ordinate the statistics and ensure that the same definitions are used by all so that the numbers can demonstrate the level of violence taking place in the community.

 

WCCC wins Human Rights Award!

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The Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) has
received a prestigious Human Rights Award for advancing gender
equality in the Pacific.

Issued by the Regional Rights Resource Team and the Secretariat of the
Pacific Counsel in partnership with the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre,
WCCC won the organisation category and were awarded $5,000 FJD.

The individual category of the Human Rights Awards was won by Jacqui
Koroi (Fiji) for her focus on working on the rights of young women,
Lily Kolts Be’Soer (Papua New Guinea) for peace initiatives and
highlighting the impact of conflict on women and children and
Sainimili Tawake (Fiji) for leadership, commitment and promotion of
issues of women and girls with disabilities.

The centre has only just celebrated its first birthday –the year has
seen a record number of over 300 clients through the door, the first
reported case of sex trafficking and the establishment of progressive
approaches to addressing the causes of violence. It’s topped off with
winning the Pacific Human Rights Award “It is an absolute honour” said
WCCC Director, Ofa-ki-levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki “to acknowledge all
the hard work that our staff have done this year to eliminate violence
against women in Tonga.”

Speaking on behalf of the panel of judges, Ms Sarah Goulding
Counsellor Development Co-operation (Fiji and Tuvalu) said the breadth
of nominations was outstanding and varied. ‘The nominees have
advocated in favour of the peaceful resolution of conflict, young
girls empowerment and for democracy, free speech and public
accountability. They have put at risk their personal safety and
financial security, and have persevered when their goals seemed
unattainable. They are committed women’s human rights defenders.”

WCCC Director Guttenbeil-Likiliki points to the work that the staff of
WCCC have performed around culturally taboo issues in a time of
financial difficulty “All of the staff have been relying on donations
and one off payments, with many periods of volunteering. It is
demanding work, but we are all here to provide support for survivors
of violence. It is only due to the support of the wider community that
we have been able to exist – with very few resources, the amount we
have been able to achieve this year has been impressive”. As yet the
financial future of the Crisis Centre is uncertain.

Some of the achievements of the centre this year include training over
30 men to advocate for women’s human rights, advocating for
ratification of the UN Convention on Elimination of Descrimination
Against Women (CEDAW), performing legal advocacy that led to improved
outcomes for sexual assault victim and conducting over 30 community
awareness programs, including in high schools. The centre continues to
provide 24 hour counselling and a safe house for those seeking refuge
from violence.

The centre has also utilised the media in innovative ways to improve
the understanding of the realities of women in Tonga. They produced a
documentary, Girls Ask, which aired young girls concerns in light of
Tonga’s historic elections, and produced Pink Hibiscus a piece about a
survivor of an incest case. The centre also came second in the Tonga
Family Health World Aids Day Short Film competition, and have
continually commented on issues that concern the rights of women and
children.

The Crisis Centre was presented with their award by Valda Horder from
the RRRT to mark International Human Rights Day “this award
acknowledges the outstanding work and commitment of the staff of WCCC
to women’s human rights” said Horder. This year’s event was supported
by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and
the New Zealand Agency for International Development.

Guttenbeil-Likiliki proudly accepted the award “It is great to receive
recognition for the work that we do to improve the quality of life for
all women and children in Tonga, with many thanks to the entire
community that made it possible.”