8 Mar 2005

Churches called on to play a role in ending abuse against women in Fiji.

6:58 pm on 8 March 2005

While Fiji has been marking International Women's Day there are concerns that more than sixty percent of women in the country face abuse.

The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre says violence against women is a major problem while many women face a life of poverty.

The Centre's co-ordinator, Shameema Ali, says the causes are not obvious though a patriachal culture appears to allow the abuse, and the failure of public institutions to protect the women, are two key factors.

"At the institutional level, yes a lot needs to be done, but only changing things at that level is not going to end the violence that is perpetrated against women. We have done a lot of work in the community - the churches, the religious organisations need to come in and really look at it. We have to look at the root causes. We cannot look at violence as a welfare issue."