The Fijian government is to construct a safehouse to accommodate victims of family violence including women and children in Natabua, Lautoka.
Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa participated in a foundation ceremony on August 24, 2018.
“This is a major milestone in our efforts to tackle the social evil of family violence. The house will shelter women and children and will provide them a safe environment,” she said.
Ms Vuniwaqa said that the trauma, wounds and psychological harm that persist due to family violence and abuse should be addressed effectively.
However, the government alone cannot address the issue and we cannot look away and be silent spectators, she said.
The safehouse project is a three-way partnership involving the Ministry of Women, Golden Age Home Trustees (who are the lessees of the state land) and Soroptimist International South West Pacific (SISWP), which will meet the cost of construction.
The safehouse will be run by the Ministry with external expertise.
SISWP President Anusha Santhirasthipam thanked the Fijian government, service groups, companies and people.
“Their continuous support will help in the expansion of such projects in Fiji. An increasing number of women and children in crisis will have a safe place with emergency services rendered to them. This facility will offer a welcoming space where clients can feel safe and comfortable, and access support programmes and services including counselling, educational programming, and a children’s shelter,” she said.
Measure to quell violence
Ms Vuniwaqa said that the construction of these shelters will provide women and their children with access to safe housing and the support they need to help them start a new page in their lives.
“We should alert the right authorities on the cases of family violence and speak about it so that we can minimise the alarming statistics on violence and sexual offences against women and children,” she said.
She thanked the Tappoo Foundation for donating F$ 5000 to SISWP.
Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa at the Foundation ceremony in Lautoka (Picture Supplied)