Comment from the Director

There is still a lot of work to be done to end violence against women, children and girls in Tonga in order to improve their lives. The reality right now is that a survivor of domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment or child sexual abuse cannot be assured of access to safe, supportive, non-judgemental, confidential and professional services.  While the WCCC’s main objective is to provide response services that are professional and appropriate, we still face many challenges when dealing with other key response agencies.  This can include dealing with insensitive comments from the courts which place the blame on the survivor or trying to get frontline police to take reports from a survivor who has turned up at a local station to report an abuse rather than encouraging her to reconcile as a first response.  Survivors needing health services may have to wait for long periods in the general waiting area of the public hospital where there is no specific process for survivors of rape, incest, sexual assault or domestic violence.  We see a great need for more awareness and training for key response agencies as inappropriate responses continue to disempower women, children and girls and discourage them from reporting.  This year, on International Women’s Day, March 08th, with the help of UNWomen Fiji, we launched our WCCC Fanguna Radio Programme. This programme aims to allow anyone, in particular survivors, to write in about the violations they have experienced and to ask for help as to how best to move forward.   This has been a critical move by WCCC because it allows us to inform survivors about their options and to inform the public about the gaps and loopholes in Tonga, identifying where we need to improve response services. It is hoped that there will be more public support for improving services for survivors.  The Fanguna radio program runs every Tuesday evening on 87.5FM, so tune in if you have time, although it is in the Tongan language.  Please do enjoy our first quarter newsletter for 2016.