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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

05 October 2018

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Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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FWRM launches Access to Justice annexes

FWRM launches Access to Justice annexes

5/10/18

Women and girls are the victims/ survivors in 9 out of 10 cases reported to the Fiji Police in all categories of Sexual Offence cases.

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement launched four annex publications today as part of the “Balancing the Scales: Improving Fijian Women’s Access to Justice” research funded by the European Union and UN Women.

The summary report was launched in November last year and highlighted barriers women in Fiji face when accessing justice.

“The research report is ground-breaking, as it has highlighted women’s experiences and challenges in accessing the formal justice systems. It also sheds light on the prevalence of violence against women and girls,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh.

The newly released annexes contain in-depth analysis of data from the Fiji Courts, Office of the Director of the Public Prosecution (ODPP), Fiji Police Force and the Legal Aid Commission. This includes data on family law and violence against women and children cases from the years 2006 to 2017.

“We’ve been grateful to work with the formal justice sector agencies and other CSOs to highlight women’s realities and how the law and justice system supports women and girls,” said Ms Singh.

Statistics from the 2017 High Court analysis indicate that of total rape cases, 47 per cent were girl-child sexual abuse cases and the remaining 53 per cent involved adult women as the survivor, or victim. Men were the accused in 98 percent of these rape cases.

It’s alarming to note that children make up a significant portion of the statistics. In the 2017 High Court analysis, the victim/survivor in 2 cases were 1 year olds. Child victims under 18 years old in sexual offence cases accounted for 65 percent of victims in 2017 and 59 percent in 2016 according to the ODPP case analysis.

“There is an urgent need for attitudinal change, particularly on how we perceive women and girls in our society. The statistics are disturbing and reflect a larger problem of entrenched patriarchal norms that limit women and girls participation which leaves them vulnerable to situations of violence,” said Ms Singh.

To raise awareness on this and promote women’s access to justice, FWRM will also be carrying out an Access to Justice media campaign funded by the European Union. The media campaign utilises the findings from the research and includes an animated info graphic video and radio adverts in English, Hindi and i-Taukei to be broadcast nation-wide.

FWRM has also continued its commitments to the recommendations highlighted in the research. As part of this, FWRM is continuing its collaboration with the Fiji Courts on the presentation and publication of case data that presents 5-year trends for different types of family law and violence against women and children cases. FWRM is also continuing its gender analysis of High Court and Magistrate Court cases.

“It was encouraging to see some of the recommendations from the research report being taken up. The ODPP published annual sex-disaggregated data on Rape and Sexual Offences Statistics for 2017,” said Ms Singh.

“We look forward to more collaborations and work towards taking up some of the highlighted recommendations.”

ENDS 

For more information please contact Communications Officer Maryann Lockington 8677330 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The links to the annexes are listed below:

Court Annex http://www.fwrm.org.fj/images/A2J/Court-Annex.pdf

ODPP Annex http://www.fwrm.org.fj/images/A2J/DPP-Annex.pdf

Legal Aid Commission Annex http://www.fwrm.org.fj/images/A2J/LAC-annex.pdf

Police Annex http://www.fwrm.org.fj/images/A2J/Police-Annex.pdf