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Violence Against Women Focus Of Regional Police Training

SUVA (4 Nov 2016) - Police officers from 11 Pacific countries will gather in Nadi next week for a workshop funded by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) aimed at improving the officers’ skills in dealing with cases of violence against women, helping them understand gender dynamics as well as laws relating to gender-based violence.

Thirty police officers will participate in the Regional Police Training Program facilitated by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) at the Hexagon Hotel from 7-18 November.

Represented during the training will be Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The AFP-FWCC Regional Police Training Program was first held in 2014, with this being the fourth. In May 2016, a Regional Police Training was held in the Federated States of Micronesia, the first of its kind for officers in the Northern Pacific countries.

So far, 80 police officers from around the region have graduated from the previous training courses.

“Police officers are usually the first official responders to violence against women," said Shamima Ali, Coordinator of FWCC and the lead instructor on the course. “With the high prevalence rates of violence against women in the Pacific, it is vital that officers understand the dynamics of this violence and how perpetrators operate so they are better able to recognise these when confronted by intimate partner violence, rape and sexual assault," said Ms Ali.

“If police officers are sensitised to the issue of gender-based violence, they will be able to handle cases sensitively and with the corresponding confidence in police forces will come the willingness by survivors to report the offences perpetuated against them.”

The objectives of the two-week training program include understanding gender and how it relates to violence against women and girls, understanding laws against gender-based violence and related legislation, and improving the working relationships between police forces and organisations that work in the area of eliminating violence against women and girls.

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