August 15, 2016 4:54 pm

FWCC marks 32-yrs of working to end violence against women

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) today marked thirty-two years of working to end violence against women. The milestone was celebrated by activists and organisations working in the area of eliminating violence against women from around the Pacific during the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) at the Warwick Resort in Sigatoka, Fiji. […]

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) today marked thirty-two years of working to end violence against women.

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Activists and organisations during the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) at the Warwick Resort in Sigatoka, Fiji. (FWCC)

The milestone was celebrated by activists and organisations working in the area of eliminating violence against women from around the Pacific during the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) at the Warwick Resort in Sigatoka, Fiji.

Every four years, the FWCC convenes a meeting of the network, with this year’s meeting being the seventh since the Network was founded.

FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali said the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre set up in 1984, was based on women’s experiences of violence specifically focused on eliminating violations of women’s human rights in response to the growing problem of rape and domestic violence and the patriarchal attitudes that blamed women for these violations of their human rights.

ALI: “This work has to be done without fear. You need to keep pushing the boundaries and if one approach fails you can go back and re-strategize, but you must never stop trying.”

Following on from the setting up of the PWNAVAW in 1992, the FWCC launched its flagship month-long Regional Training Programme (RTP) in 1995.

The RTP is held up to twice a year to train women’s human rights workers, social workers, police and prisons personnel and other responders to violence against women from across the Pacific.

Training topics included gender and patriarchy, violence against women and human rights, including counselling for survivors of violence, using the media for advocacy and allied topics.

The FWCC has for most of its existence, received support from the government of Australia through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, although funding at the current level is still being discussed.

The challenge now for the FWCC and the organisations and activists around the Pacific who look to it for guidance and support is to find ways to continue its services to the women and children of Fiji and the Pacific, including diversifying funding and pushing Pacific governments to take more responsibility for funding working to eliminate violence against women.