Nauru Police Force Takes Lead in Addressing Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences

Seated (3rd from left), Australian High Commissioner Sara Moriarty, NPF Deputy Commissioner Simpson Deidanang, FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali, APF Act Sargeant Brandon Thugar and UNDP Pacific Gender Specialist Consultant Maria Plata.

3 July 2024

Yaren, Nauru – The Nauru Police Force has launched a specialized training initiative to enhance their response capabilities and service delivery for survivors of gender-based violence, demonstrating their continuous commitment to strengthening their overall response. Just last year, the Nauru Police Force doubled the size of their domestic violence unit, increasing from two to five officers.

This training initiative has been advanced with the support of UNDP under the Nauru Accountable & Inclusive Governance project, funded by the Australian High Commission, and in strong partnership with the Australian Federal Police.

Domestic violence and sexual offences constitute a significant portion of reported crimes in Nauru. In acknowledging not only the sensitivity but also the complexity of these offenses, the Nauru Police Force has taken proactive steps to strengthen its response efforts.

“Since 2021, over the past three years, we have received 79 cases, with 53 completed and 23 closed due to insufficient evidence. It is crucial to recognize that these numbers do not necessarily reflect a low prevalence of family and sexual violence. As we all know, victims of such violence often do not come forward due to fear, stigma, and various other barriers,” said Deputy Commissioner Simpson Deidanang during his opening remarks.

The training program, which began yesterday, is designed to empower officers with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle domestic violence and sexual offences cases more effectively and compassionately. The program also includes practical exercises such as mock interviews and evidence collection simulations to enhance participants’ confidence and competence.

Key facilitators during the workshop will include cross-regional expertise provided by prominent Fijian human rights advocate, Shamima Ali Coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC). Ms Ali has been instrumental in raising awareness about domestic violence, sexual harassment, and gender inequality in Fiji and the broader Pacific region and in advancing women’s rights and addressing violence against women.

Also facilitating is specialized trainer on gender- based violence, Acting Sergeant Brandon Thurgar, from the Canberra Family Unit of the Australian Police force.

“This initiative aims to ensure a victim-centered approach,” Commissioner Simpson said.

“The safety and well-being of survivors must always be our top priority during any investigation process.”

Australian High Commissioner, Sara Moriarty, attended the opening of the training and highlighted Australia’s support to ending violence against women.

“This training session exemplifies Australia’s unwavering commitment to supporting police institutional strengthening and ending violence against women. Our partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and the Australian Federal Police showcases the collaborative effort necessary to effectively tackle these critical issues,” Ms. Moriarty said.

This specialized training initiative marks a significant step forward in Nauru’s efforts to combat gender-based violence. By equipping officers with advanced skills and fostering regional collaboration, Nauru is
strengthening its commitment to protecting vulnerable communities and ensuring justice for survivors.

The collective efforts of local and international partners highlight the importance of a united approach in addressing and ultimately eradicating gender-based violence in the Pacific region.

For further media enquiries, please contact: Risiate Biudole, Communications Analyst, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. (E)