4 Feb 2009

Vanuatu women's group appalled at sex crime figures

3:42 pm on 4 February 2009

The Vanuatu Women's centre says it's horrified but not surprised that sex crimes accounted for 64 percent of the 380 cases processed through the Supreme Court in Port Vila last year.

The Chief Justice Vincent Lunabek has told the Vanuatu Daily Post that courts elsewhere in the country recorded a similar trend - the highest sex and drug crime figures since the 1990s.

The Vanuatu Women's Centre offers couselling services and runs community awareness programmes in violence against women.

Its coordinator, Merilyn Tahi, says the officials figures confirm what her centre has believed for years, that violence against women is increasing.

"We say, the bottom line is that men have to take women as equal partners have more respect for women and recognise as both human beings. Otherwise our country will just see a more increase of violence and sexual violence on women."

She says the government can not shy away from this information and needs to do something about these figures.