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News : Helpline to Serve Women
uva, Fiji, Sept 19, 2016 -- Women and girls in Fiji who experience domestic violence will soon be able to call a national helpline and receive help from counsellors and related services.
The contract signing of the national domestic violence (DV) helpline was conducted on Friday between the Ministry of Women and the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre.
FWCC counsellor supervisor Farzana Rahim said the national helpline gave the organisation the opportunity to serve Fijian women throughout the country.
"Our research tells us that Fiji has the fourth-highest rates of domestic violence over a woman's lifetime, compared with 20 other countries that used the same survey method," Ms Rahim said.
"The DV helpline is not only about responding to a phone call and a host of support services will need to be mobilised and prepared for referrals that will inevitably happen.
"The police, health system, social welfare agencies and the judiciary services will be involved and these services will need to respond appropriately and effectively to survivors who will be referred to them."
Ms Rahim said many women lived in violent homes and faced torture, multiple types of physical, emotional and sexual abuse and high levels of coercive control by their partners or husbands.
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar said the helpline was an important achievement by the ministry.
"It has been a government commitment to set up the 24-hour toll-free telephone assistance for victims and survivors of domestic violence," Ms Akbar said.
"With the DV helpline in place, we will continue to break down the silence on violence against women and girls as it will provide a central and single point of referral."
Details of the domestic violence national helpline would be formalised later this month.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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