With four cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji, Minister for Women, Mereseini Vuniwaqa says the safety and security of women and girls, including those with disabilities and marginalised groups is top priority.
Vuniwaqa says the Ministry is working closely with the signatories to the National Service Delivery Protocol to ensure that women and girls are protected, and perpetrators do not use this situation as an opportunity to commit violence.
This includes the Police, key government ministries, frontline service providers such as the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Medical Services Pacific, Empower Pacific and the Salvation Army.
Vuniwaqa says this is because they have seen the rise in domestic violence cases happen before during political crisis’ and natural disasters.
Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali says the Centre is ready to support women and girls.
Ali says while they support recommended public health measures such as social distancing but acknowledge that it may be used as a mechanism by perpetrators to further isolate women from family and social networks, creating a potentially dangerous environment for physical, sexual, and emotional violence.
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