A New Zealand police officer who recently returned from Kiribati says changing the attitudes of local policemen is essential in bringing down alarming rates of domestic violence.
A nationwide survey of women between the ages of 15 and 49 in Kiribati has revealed about 70 per cent have experienced domestic violence.
The New Zealand Police runs a Pacific prevention of domestic violence programme and manager, Cam Ronald, says officers need to learn how to respond to women in distress.
"We've trained now, all the front line staff in the Kiribati Police, in how to deal with this, and we've trained over half of the police, and there's 200 police there. We've trained over half of them in how to investigate and to deal with these matters, but yes it is a long road and we are seeing change, but there is a long way to go."
Cam Ronald says even the Police Commissioner had been prompted to break the cycle of historical domestic violence with in his own family after attending the training workshops.