4 Oct 2006

Fiji women's group says police slow to deal with sex crimes

4:27 pm on 4 October 2006

The Fiji-based NGO, Women's Crisis Centre, is accusing the country's police of a lack of response to complaints of sexual offences and domestic violence.

Shameema Ali says women and children in outer islands are particularly affected.

Ms Ali adds, however, that it is also difficult to get a case going on the main islands.

"They are very lack in responding to cases of sexual assault and domestic violence. It takes a lot of running around police to try to find the investigating officer, having someone present at the sexual offenses unit, we have two of them. And the attitude. The more you go out in the rural areas the worse the sensitisation is to crimes of violence against women and children."

Ms Ali says there is often pressure from within the community, and in many cases, a cover-up if the perpetrator is a well-known person or a priest.

She adds police is often forced or willing to take part in it.

But police deny the claims and say their response is excellent.