About 50% of women who called the National Domestic Violence helpline number 1560 were reporting a link between COVID-19 and an increase of violence which linked directly to the restrictions of movement and economic strains on families.
While speaking on the Workshop on Addressing Domestic Violence and Gender Justice during COVID-19 this morning, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa says close to 75% women reported extremely serious forms of violence such as being punched, kicked, and hit by stones and timber.
Vuniwaqa says almost 2 out of 3 women in Fiji have been subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetime which is double the global average.
She says most cases are perpetrated by an intimate partner.
Vuniwaqa says based on the data collected in April, there had been a significant increase in calls where they received 87 calls in February, 187 calls in March and 527 calls in April.
66% of the callers were women and 34% men.
Vuniwaqa has encouraged all Fijians not to turn a blind eye when they see abuse happening by saying “its their personal matter”.
She has stressed that sexual abuse and domestic violence are criminal acts and it is not a personal matter.
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