20 Apr 2016

Spike in reported domestic violence in Fiji may be positive

7:48 am on 20 April 2016

A Fiji women's group says the increase in reported violence against women may not mean more abuse is occurring, but that more women are choosing to speak out against it.

Police said in the first quarter of the year there was a 13 percent rise in reported domestic violence compared to the first quarter of last year.

The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said this increase may be due to a number of factors.

Shamima Ali

Shamima Ali Photo: SUPPLED

She said NGOs encouraged women to speak out.

"There's been an improvement in how police respond through the legislation the Domestic Violence Decree and things like that. So I think that change is encouraging women to report, and that is why we've seen a spike in the reported cases of violence against women."

Shamima Ali said although only 15 percent of domestic violence cases are believed to be reported, women are realising and exercising their rights.

She said because of cultural pressure many remain quiet.