Increse of GBV cases in Pacific during pandemic ‘worrying’

Health Watch

THE increase in gender-based violence (GBV) during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) period is worrying for the Pacific which had high rates of intimate partner violence prior to the onset of the pandemic.
Pacific Community (SPC) deputy director-general Dr Paula Vivili said this at the second annual meeting of the implementation of the regional working group on the implementation of domestic violence legislation last week.
He said the pandemic’s impact on the economies and health systems coupled with the restrictions on movement through lockdowns and curfews had increased social stressors.
Dr Vivili said since the pandemic would continue to impact countries, the meeting was crucial as the work would reflect on good practices and lessons learned in implementing domestic violence legislation during the Covid-19 and during recent natural disasters (tropical cyclones Harold in early last year and Yasa and Ana in late last year and early this year).
“The objective of this meeting is to develop a set of recommendations on practices for their respective governments to consider adopting during similar situations in the future,” he said.
Dr Vivili said considerations would be made on how Pacific governments could collaborate to implement the key recommendations on addressing GBV which came out of the 14th triennial conference of Pacific Women held in April.
He said the meeting was timely because of the recent announcement by the Australian government that SPC would implement and manage the Pacific Women Lead programme which was their new five-year gender equality programme for the region.
Dr Vivili also announced that the New Zealand government had provided SPC with a NZ$2 million (about K4.9 million) grant for direct support to the regional group.