19 Jan 2005

Fiji women's group claims sex crime underreported

1:36 pm on 19 January 2005

Fiji's Women Crisis Centre workers say attacks on sex workers are not being reported properly.

The Centre's deputy coordinator Edwina Kotoisuva says sex workers are not laying complaints for fear of victimization.

Ms Kotoisuva called on the media to do more investigative stories on attacks against women in Fiji and around the region.

Ms Kotoisuva says the Crisis Centre is seeing 1-thousand new cases a year on top of 1-thousand repeat cases.

Andrew Peteru, the Regional Health Manager for the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific Institute says violence against women must be seen as a part of a wider problem.

Mr Peteru says many island youth are extremely stressed by a lack of work and poverty.

He says young men need to be taught alternatives to violence, and that alcohol often leads to violence.

A 2002 study by the Fiji Reserve Bank found that direct and indirect costs of domestic violence were as high as $300 million dollars.