8 Aug 2016

Signs of a shift in attitudes towards sexual violence in Fiji

7:30 am on 8 August 2016

The head of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre says recent statistics on sexual violence in the country are disturbing, but the long-term outlook is slowly improving.

Pamphlets for the Rakiraki Women's crisis centre. Sep 2015

Pamphlets for the Rakiraki Women's crisis centre Photo: RNZI/ Sally Round

Last week, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions released its official rape and sexual offences statistics for July, with 45 incidents recorded. 24 people were charged.

Shamima Ali, a long-time women's rights advocate, said she suspects the number of reported incidents would only account for about 10 percent of sexual abuse cases in the country.

However, she said she believes the statistics are skewed as more people are finally starting to come forward.

"My senses tell me that actually that people are reporting a lot more and they're getting more confident about reporting," she said.

"And police responses are improving, there are many people speaking out against such crimes, so people are getting encouraged to come out and report."

Shamima Ali said a lot more needs to be done to change attitudes in Fiji, and prevent sexual abuse from happening in the first place.