15 Feb 2019

Tonga and Fiji network in fight against violence

7:46 pm on 15 February 2019

Anti-violence campaigners in Tonga say a recent fact-finding mission to Fiji has helped them become better soldiers in their fight against violence.

Anti-violence campaigners from Fiji and Tonga in Suva

Anti-violence campaigners from Fiji and Tonga in Suva Photo: Supplied

Eleni Mone, of Families Free of Violence, said they explored service delivery models for family and domestic violence cases.

She said they also gathered and exchanged ideas with their Fijian counterparts on how to respond to gender-based violence.

"To let the group engage and find out what's happening so that when the group goes back to Tonga, they'll have identified okay that would work for Tonga or that won't work for Tonga.

"So that the Tongans themselves build up their own as to context - availability of resources and also the way we Tongans think. Sometimes it's a little bit different."

Eleni Mone said Tonga's anti-violence campaigners will now go to Canberra to study Australian systems.

UN Women is helping to facilitate the fact finding missions.

Its Pacific representative, Abigail Erikson, said the agency's role is to support Pacific countries to develop tools, protocols and systems to help women and girls who experience violence.

"And to make sure that the police, health, social services, crisis centres are working well so that we can make sure that women and girls get the services they need, and that there's a nice continuum of care and everyone is working together," Ms Erikson said.

Pacific governments also needed to synergise their anti-violence programmes across urban and rural areas, she said.

This would enable women and children in remote areas to receive the same support as victims of violence in urban centres.

"It's very important that everybody is on the same page, that everybody is kind of singing from the same song book when it comes to how women and children should be treated in the aftermath of violence."

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