TWO huge programmes focused on the empowerment and protection of Pacific women and children costing more than USD70 million have been launched over the past couple of months, prompting calls from long-term advocates for donors, governments and civil society organisations to ensure their efforts are coordinated.
Women and girls in Pacific Island nations face violence at a much higher rate than in many other countries. In our region up to two in every three women are impacted by domestic and gender-based violence, twice the global average. Research from several national and international organisations show rate of lifetime experience with violence is high in Tonga (79 per cent), Samoa (76 per cent), Kiribati (73 per cent), Fiji (72 per cent),
Vanuatu (72 per cent) and Solomon Islands (64 per cent). Pacific women also face much higher incidences of abuse at the hands of their partners. Women and girls with disability are particularly vulnerable.
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) are investing €50million (US$55.95m) in their Spotlight Initiative to eliminate domestic violence in the Pacific region. The UN and EU are also partnering with the Australian government in the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls. The Pacific Partnership represents a €19.5 million (US$21.82m) investment.
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