PRESS RELEASE: Training of Trainers Workshop Raises Awareness on Combatting Sexual Harassment

29 November 2017

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement in partnership with the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD) organised the first ever training of trainers’ (TOT) workshop to raise awareness on combatting sexual harassment in the workplace. The training was held from 27 to 29 November at Victoria Palms Hotel in Suva, Fiji.

The 3-day training workshop, supported by the Australian Government and implemented through the We Rise Coalition, is a key learning from FWRM’s Not Ok! Stop Sexual Harassment Campaign that was carried out earlier in the year. The Campaign used findings from FWRM’s Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Follow Up Study 2016.

“One in five Fijian women were found to have been sexually harassed in the workplace from our latest survey. The fact is that sexual harassment is prevalent, widespread and varied and there is a lack of priority in terms of addressing it. This is a motivating factor that supports this training as we aim to up skill our staff and other key stakeholders who can then provide support and service to other organisations,” said FWRM Board Chair Makereta Waqavonovono.

“The training is especially timely as this week is also the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, with 25 November marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.”

The TOT toolkit was developed by ICAAD with input from FWRM.

Commenting on the workshop, ICAAD Co-Founder Jaspreet Singh said, "We are thrilled to have so much diverse participation ranging from government ministries to CSOs. The work we’ve done here will live on through the participants who will be able to empower employers throughout Fiji by giving them the tools needed to combat sexual harassment."

The training targeted key stakeholders and agencies that work in this area to strengthen implementation. The training consisted of 14 participants from FWRM, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Medical Service Pacific, Empower Pacific, Ministry of Employment Productivity and Industrial Relations and the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission.

Workplace Sexual Harassment policies were made mandatory under Section 76 (2) Employment Regulations Act 2007.

“According to our study, 22 percent of women surveyed said they had a workplace policy on sexual harassment, 16 percent said they did not have a policy and 21 percent did not know. Another concerning finding was that the vast majority (82%) of the cases go unreported  There’s an urgent need for awareness and training, to ensure that staff and workers know about the workplace policy and how to seek redress if they’ve been a victim/survivor of sexual harassment,” said Ms. Waqavonovono.

“In the future, FWRM hopes to engage with other private sector organisations and stakeholders who have shown interest in the training. It will be an opportunity to utilise the training skills they’ve gained through this TOT to promote safe workplaces.”

 

Read more about FWRM’s Sexual Harassment studies and the Not Ok! Stop Sexual Harassment Campaign on http://www.fwrm.org.fj/events/not-ok-stop-sexual-harassment-campaign  

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