A Fiji women's NGO is urging the Police Commissioner to consider implementing an extensive gender-sensitisation programme across all levels of the police force before officers start a campaign to fight sexual offending.
The call follows Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua's instruction to all officers to face up to the issue, talk about it openly in the community and find solutions within their routine police activities.
Annell Husband reports.
"The Fiji Women's Rights Movement says while advocacy is definitely a step in the right direction in combating sexual offences, it is concerned with the level of gender sensitisation within the police force. The organisation's executive director, Virisila Buadromo, declined to be interviewed because of security fears. However, in a statement she says society perpetuates various stereotypes that hold women responsible for sexual crimes against them and at the same time, many women and children are unaware of both their rights and the laws that protect them. Ms Buadromo says the police need to know how to talk to women and children in a way that takes into account their realities and experiences before they begin any form of community awareness or advocacy."