6 Oct 2010

Tonga Police lament likely demise of women's centre amid soaring domestic violence

8:17 pm on 6 October 2010

Tonga's Police Commander Chris Kelley says given the increase in the number of domestic violence cases being reported to the police, the force relies heavily on community women's groups to assist them.

His comment comes as the Tonga's National Centre for Women and Children is struggling to stay operational after New Zealand's official Aid agency pulled funding for the centre this year.

Mr Kelley says any complaint is taken seriously which often results in the arrest of any violent offender, or the provision of protection for victims.

He says referring victims to the two main women's centres is an important part of police procedure, and that it would leave a serious gap if they closed.

"From a police point of view, I think it's terribly important that the crisis centres remain in existence and provide the support that they do, particularly to women and children, but also to the community in general."

Tonga Police Commander Chris Kelley says officers are assigned to its police domestic violence unit which is supported by NZAID.

The unit is part of the Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme - a regional initiative aimed at reducing domestic violence.