1 Dec 2005

Fiji commission deplores continued justification of family violence

5:14 pm on 1 December 2005

The Fiji Law Reform Commission says attitudes that seek to justify violence in family relationships are still prevalent in the country.

The Fiji Sun says this is contained in the commission's report on its review of laws relating to domestic violence.

The commission's executive chairman, Alipate Qetaki, says they heard that rape in marriage is the lived experience of about 9 percent of victims of domestic violence and that many men claim they have a right to beat their wives to discipline them.

Mr Qetaki says the Reserve Bank has calculated that the direct and indirect cost of domestic violence in Fiji is about 180 million US dollars a year, which is about 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

He says changes in laws which deal with domestic violence should include the nature of the violence as a social and gender problem.

Mr Qetaki says there is a need to give the courts and the police adequate powers to effectively protect women, children and other victims of violence.