Gender Training with frontline officers to help improve women's access to justice

5th June, 2017

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement organised a 2-day Gender Sensitisation training on women’s access to justice at the Tanoa Plaza, June 5.

Using data from a scoping study carried out by FWRM on access to justice in 2015, the training will focus on raising awareness on gender and identifying key issues and solutions women face in seeking legal advice and services.

 “A key recommendation from the scoping study was gender sensitisation training for frontline officers working in institutions providing access to justice,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh.

“They are the first point of contact for women that may be seeking help or advise. They need to be sensitised to issues, particularly when dealing with cases of violence and discrimination.”

The training was attended by 25 participants from the Family Law Court, Fiji Police Force and Legal Aid. 

“This is also an opportunity to gauge the experiences of the participants in dealing with women’s issues and find ways to work together in future,” said Singh.

“Statistics from the Chief Registrar show an increase in the number of applications to the Family Court over the last 5 years: from 5,506 in 2009 to 14,578 in 2014. This substantial increase would have an impact on the court’s ability to cater for the needs of its clients.”

Access to justice has been a significant part of FWRM’s work in policy reform for the past 30 years, with the Family Law Act (2005) being a major achievement of years of lobbying and advocacy.

“Despite progressive laws, women, particularly marginalized women continue to face barriers and challenges in accessing institutions and services relating to security, protection and justice,” said Singh.

The training complements FWRM’s current work under the Balancing the Scales: Improving Women’s Access to Justice which has already established strong relationships with the Judiciary, Legal Aid Commission, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Fiji Police Force.

The Gender Sensitisation Training is supported by the Australian Government through the We Rise Coalition.