27 Aug 2020

Fiji's domestic violence surge tied to pandemic - minister

11:08 am on 27 August 2020

Fiji's sharp rise in domestic violence has been linked to the Covid-19 pandemic by victims, Fiji's minister for women says.

Mereseini Vuniwaqa

Mereseini Vuniwaqa Photo: Twitter/ @fijirepublic

The country already has one of the highest reported rates in the world, experienced by two thirds of Fiji's women.

Mereseini Vuniwaqa told a workshop on Monday that the national helpline -- 1560 -- had 87 calls in February, which rose to 187 in March before 527 in April.

"The domestic violence being reported is serious," Vuniwaqa said.

"Close to three quarters of the women that called reported physical violence, including some extremely serious forms of violence such as being punched, kicked and hit by stones and timber."

Vuniwaqa said half of the women who called claimed a correlation between Covid-19 and the violence they were experiencing.