Break the Silence - End the Violence in the Pacific

Police services in the Pacific have been active during the 16 Days of Activism on Women’s Rights, with their communities and other government agencies, to spread a message of awareness around violence against women. 

The theme this year has taken up the Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence (PPDVP) mantra ’Break the Silence – End the Violence’.  This has been blended with the New Zealand White Ribbon Day theme of developing respectful relationships.

White Ribbon Day on 25 November each year – the first day of the 16 Days of Activism - is a key date for Pacific police.  The PPDVP, with support from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Federal Police and New Zealand Police, assists countries with equipment and funds for local activities which unite communities and police.

PPDVP Programme Manager Cam Ronald, says: “This year the focus has been on countries identifying the best activities to suit their communities, with us providing a helping hand. The variety has been eye-opening, with large groups of police, their families and communities joining together.”

In Tuvalu, the Domestic Violence Advisory Committee led a series of village meetings and a community sports day with police, which was broadcast nationally.  A similar event was held in Vanuatu with a spectacular street march and a family day where key messages were delivered by the Police Commissioner and other dignitaries.

Samoa Police developed a video presentation carrying the non-violence message, which has been publicly broadcast; Niue Police led a community activity at the New Zealand High Commission, and in Tonga a street parade and community family day were held. 

PPDVP has supported a non-violence programme for staff of the Pacific Community, Suva, where Captain John Hogan has promoted a ‘safe families’ message for all.

“It’s great to see the variety of ways police services have been involved in the 16 Days of Activism – but what’s more important is that the work goes on year-round to ensure people across the Pacific hear the message that violence will not be tolerated,” says Cam.

16 Days – 16 Stories of Gender Progress in the Pacific is an initiative of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and SPC who are sharing stories of successful gender programs across the region and highlighting the regional policies that guide them. The Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declarationhas a specific priority on ending violence against women. Related commitments include the Ministerial Communiques and Pacific Women’s Triennial Outcomes. The 2015 Pacific Regional MDGS Tracking Report Progressnoted New Zealand’s progress as: Police reviewed theirguidelines and trainingfor investigations of adultsexual assaults. A primary prevention programwas supported by the police.New funding of NZ$10.4Mover 2 years to supportsexual violence services tovictims and perpetrators.Completed Social ServicesSelect Committee Inquiryinto funding specialist sexualviolence services.

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