Australia Joins $20m Global Push to Prevent Domestic Violence Across the Pacific

September 25, 2017

Prevention, rather than helping women after they’ve suffered at the hands of a partner, is the next step for global agencies in the fight against domestic violence across the Pacific Islands.

Recent surveys show more than 60 per cent of women in the region have experienced violence from an intimate partner or family member.

Photo: article supplied

“Prevention means that we don’t have to address it in the end because we’ve already prevented it in the beginning,” UN Women Samoa Country Coordinator, Mele Mauala, told SBS World News.

“Prevention is something that hasn’t been funded dramatically within the Pacific region – it’s mainly been service providers making sure that women, after the fact, are taken care of,” she said.

On the sidelines of this month’s Pacific Islands Forum, Australia signed an agreement worth almost $20 million (€13m) with the European Union and the United Nations to help tackle the root causes of gender inequality and violence against women and girls in the Pacific.

“Pacific leaders have acknowledged that gender inequality is imposing a high personal, social and economic cost. The time to act is now,” said Pierre Amilhat from the European Commission’s Department for International Cooperation and Development.

Australia has promised more than $6.5 million (€5m) as part of the deal for Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

“Domestic violence regrettably is a very serious issue in the Pacific,” Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, told reporters in Apia during the Pacific Islands Forum earlier this month.

“A complexity of issues has resulted in some of the highest domestic violence levels in the world.

“We try and assist women in particular to help empower them, to help them start businesses, to help them do this sort of thing that helps them help their families, help their communities,” she said.

This was originally published by ABC.net.au.

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