9 Jun 2009

Pacific meeting on violence against women told of shocking Tonga figures

9:43 pm on 9 June 2009

Tonga's National Centre for Women and Children has told the Pacific Regional Meeting on Violence Against Women being held in Fiji that five of six murders in Tonga in the first five months of this year were domestic violence related homicides.

The Centre's Ofa Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil says before the most recent death two weeks ago, the female victim had told police she was afraid for her life because her husband was threatening her with a knife, but police reacted too late.

She says the Centre has received 102 domestic violence cases, six sexual violence cases and four child abuse reports so far this year.

But the meeting has been told of some achievements in moving towards a violence-free Pacific over the past four years.

Vanuatu has the Family Protection Act, the redefinition of rape to include rape with objects, and the amendment of the Penal Code to include child pornography.

In Papua New Guinea, the Family and Sexual Violence Unit has been established in Port Moresby and it is to be rolled out in the provinces.

There's also growing recognition from PNG's police hierarchy that violence against women will not be tolerated.