[Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji / Facebook]
The Fiji Police have come a long way over the past two years to protect women and children from crimes committed against them, including those committed within the family.
While making submissions to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense on the August 2018 to July 2019 Annual Report of the Fijian Police, the Head of Planning and Internal Affairs, ACP Aporosa Lutunauga, pointed out that the force had learned a lot during the pandemic period.
He adds that the Gendarmerie has strategies in place to mitigate crime against women and children.
However, ACP Lutunauga adds that during the COVID lockdown period, they encountered some difficulties.
“Really, it’s in the family setting that it happens, which is out of our reach. However, through our community policing, we have managed to create awareness. We have moved on from 2018. Many initiatives have been put in place. We have a special KPI on crime against women and children. »
Member of the Standing Committee, Lenora Qereqeretabua asked what procedures are in place to protect children whose mothers experience domestic violence.
“The women who come to the police stations, most of them bring their children with them after having been confronted with domestic violence. How well equipped are your units or not? Is it an atmosphere the children would fit into? »
ACP Lutunauga says the Force has sexual offenses units in all major divisions which are supported by trained officers.
“Our sex offenses unit is located away from our normal arraignment room where people come in and report. They are in a safe house based environment. We have that in the central police station, we have one in the western division, one in the north and one in the eastern division. They are separated from the normal environment where people enter. It is specifically for children and women.
ACP Lutunauga says that in times of emergency, especially during natural disasters, police officers are deployed to evacuation centers to ensure the safety of women and children.