Fiji Police validates mapping of the investigation process of sexual and gender-based violence
August 4, 2022
Suva, Fiji – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji hosted a recent two-day sexual offence mapping exercise under the Fiji Police Force Support Project with support from the Government of New Zealand.
The sexual offences mapping exercise presents a nine-step visual map of the process that survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) go through from their first point of contact with the Fiji Police Force until their case is presented in Court.
The mapping provides a coverage of the processes and procedures that FPF would need to go through when encountering survivors of SGBV.
It covers various areas from medical examination, counselling services, social welfare and basic reminders with regards to investigative techniques. The mapping will seek to ensure efficient service delivery whilst promoting a survivor centered approach. “It’s about always keeping in mind that survivors are human (beings?) that suffer devastating short- and long-term consequences to their physical and mental health, and their needs and rights should be at the center of all justice processes and procedures,” said Ms. Ilisapeci Waqerau of the Sexual Offence Unit (SOU).
Officers serving within the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Forensics Unit and SOU joined the exercise that sought to gather their views, perspectives and experiences on how to follow up on the mapping in practice.
This mapping exercise presented an opportunity to discuss the present bottlenecks that exist in the process of investigating sexual offences and better understand the working relationships between the FPF, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women, Department of Social Welfare and stakeholders such as MSP and Empower Pacific. In addition, the forum received unique perspectives from officers serving in both densely populated zones and remote locations to help strengthen recommendations for a targeted response in the future.
In his opening address, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Mr. Aporosa Lutunauga commended the efforts of the Sexual Offence Unit and all stakeholders that play a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of survivors.
ACP Lutunauga went further to add that “our collaboration and partnership is critical as we continue to traverse the future in front of us and the many dynamics of criminality that prey on the vulnerable of society. We should be a step further in our efforts to weaken this threat of sexual and physical abuse and give our women, our children and our vulnerable members of society a safe place to live.”
Representatives from the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation alongside the Ministry of Health and Medical Services also partook in the exercise to share unique challenges and recommendations as they play a crucial part in the policing and investigative process. “Understanding and respecting the role of each stakeholder is key to collaborating in a manner that will promote for a survivor centered approach” said Dr. Ilisapeci Vereti, Head of Paediatrics at the Ministry of Health.
A hands-on approach was adopted throughout the sexual and gender-based offences investigation process mapping exercise with attendees participating in drama role play, case study analysis and interactive sessions that were designed to harness comprehensive feedback from sector experts that deal with SGBV cases on a daily basis.
“This sexual and gender-based offences investigation process mapping exercise is the first step in the long journey before us to developing a coherent response mechanism,” said Mr. Rustam Pulatov, Programme Manager, UNDP.
“We will continue to collaborate closely with all key stakeholders to improve, sharpen and finalize the mapping so that everyone is on the same page in terms of process and procedure,” he added.
As the next step, the Fiji Police Force Support Project will finalize a short summary report that captures feedback from all attendees, make amendments to the sexual offences mapping that accurately reflects the views of participants. The report will also capture key recommendations that will be used to provide targeted response to areas of need.
The two-day sexual offence mapping exercise was held on 28 – 29 July in Pacific Harbour, Navua.
For media queries, please contact:
Rustam Pulatov, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji; tel: +679 3312500; email: firstname.lastname@example.org