Two police officers from the Cook Islands are part of the two weeks training on gender, human rights and violence against women and girls which started last week in Nadi.
Sergeant Simiona Naku and Tereapii Tapoki are among a group of police officers from around the region participating in the training, held in conjunction with Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) and the Australian Federal Police.
Tapoki, who is also the regional gold medalist in discus, hopes to gain a better understanding of the issues under discussion.
She is hoping the programme will prove valuable in efforts to curb domestic violence in the Cook Islands.
“I’m hoping to have a clear and broader knowledge and understanding of the causes of domestic violence with the family and how we can minimise and stop these occurrences,” Tapoki said.
“I also want to learn as much as I can so I can share the knowledge with my fellow colleagues or maybe share to the community that domestic violence has no place in our society.”
FWCC coordinator Shamima Ali said violence against women and girls was a big problem throughout the Pacific and the police response was often a challenge.
She told course participants that the aim of the training was for police officers to learn about gender-based violence and the dynamics of other forms of crimes.
“Gender based violence happens at homes, on the streets, workplaces and it is everywhere,” Ali said.
“Training teaches the officers to be more sensitive towards victims of gender-based violence. It is also about the police officers changing their own behaviour and attitudes so they can respond better to victims of gender-based violence.”
The Australian Federal Police is using the training as part of its Pacific Development Programme.
Police officers from Samoa, Nauru, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu are attending the programme, which ends tomorrow