12 Oct 2009

Call for Tonga to dialogue over worsening levels of domestic violence

5:08 pm on 12 October 2009

Tonga's National Centre for Women and Children says there has to be an opening up within the country's society if worsening rates of domestic violence are to be overcome.

The Prime Minister of Tonga recently told the United Nations General Assembly that Tongan women are among the most respected and cherished in the world.

But 'Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, the manager of the National Centre, says the growing reports of violence directed are at odds with this sort of claim.

She says this year five of seven murders have been of women, something that once would have been unthinkable in Tonga.

There is also a surge in male suicides and Ms Guttenbeil-Likiliki wants a national dialogue to highlight these issues.

"To strengthen NGOs such as ourselves, to strengthen the networks between the hospital and the police and also to look at the loopholes in the legislation. But if we keep brushing things under the carpet there is not much we can do except sit around and wait for the next murder."