23 December 2014
Suva –Tuvalu’s Parliament unanimously passed the country’s Family Protection and Domestic Violence Bill last Thursday, 18 December after its second and final reading in the House.
The Act provides for greater protection from violence within domestic relationship to ensure the safety and protection of all people, including children, who experience or witness domestic violence. The Act recognises that domestic violence, in all its forms, is unacceptable behaviour and a crime.
Violence against women and within the family is a human rights violation, depriving women and children of their right to a safe and secure family life.
SPC RRRT has been providing support to the Government of Tuvalu through the drafting of the Bill in 2011 as well as providing a set of drafting instructions on violence against women legislation that is compliant with global human rights standards and supporting community and national consultations on the Bill in 2013 and in 2014.
The Tuvalu 2007 Demographic and Health survey reported that four in ten women have been subjected to some type of physical violence, with their current husbands or partners being the main perpetrators. Women whose husbands drink alcohol excessively are far more likely to experience physical, emotional, or sexual violence than those whose partner does not drink. Around half of all reported acts of physical violence were reported by women aged 25-29.
Inadequate laws and policies, fail to protect women and their families, and impact adversely on the development of a country. The passing of the Family Protection and Domestic Violence Act is a milestone for Tuvalu in that it is one of a variety of national strategies to eliminate all forms of violence against women, which is a key policy outcome in the Tuvalu’s National Gender Policy of 2014.
Since 2013, SPC RRRT has supported the legislatures of Tuvalu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tonga have all passed domestic violence legislation to protect their citizens from violence against women and girls.
Violence against women has a broad and lasting impact on the well-being of women and girls, families and communities, including the emotional, physical and psychological well-being of the survivors. Domestic violence also impacts national development by creating a burden on national social systems and services such as health care, police, legal aid, crisis centres and other response services.
SPC RRRT works to build a culture of human rights and assists nation states to commit to, and observe, international human rights standards. SPC RRRT is a programme under the Social Development Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and is funded by the Australian Government.
For more information, please contact Jilda Shem, SPC RRRT Communications Officer on +679 330 5994 or email [email protected] Photo caption: Tuvalu women in a community setting, source: http://klima-tuvalu.no/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/IMG_4862.jpg