30 Nov 2017

Pacific police urged to apply zero tolerance approach to violence

6:29 am on 30 November 2017

Civil society organisations working with survivors of gender-based violence in the Pacific are urging police in the region to apply a strict zero tolerance approach to gender based violence.

Domestic violence

Photo: 123RF

The Fiji and Tonga Women and Children's Crisis centres in partnership with the Australian Federal Police are hosting police executives from all around the Pacific in Fiji this week to train them in best practice when dealing with survivors of violence.

The Fiji crisis centre's Shamima Ali said, too often, front-line police were swayed by social pressure to advocate for reconciliation in relationships when women came forward to report violence.

She said they were hoping that reaching out to police officers in decision making roles will translate into policies and systems being put in place to try and change the culture.

"And that is to improve police response to survivors of gender based violence and you know promoting gender equality in the communities and making better policies that address the issue of gender within the police force but also without in terms of female survivors of violence."

She said other areas that also need more attention in the Pacific include having more support services for children, people living with disabilities and LGBTQI who experience violence in their communities.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs