Soni Malaulau

Soni Malaulau

Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Fakalofa lahi atu, Nisa bula vinaka, Num estae,
Kia orana, Kia ora tātou and warm Pacific greetings.

The PPDVP is a unique programme in the sense that what is being advocated is a whole of ‘Pacific Policing’ approach to responding to domestic violence, and having consistent processes and procedures as well as a common view towards domestic violence being a crime and not a private matter and while each Pacific Policing organisation will have reached different levels of response the fact that we have all reached a level of agreement that has led to the signing of a Declaration between Pacific Police Chiefs against domestic violence, is a major step forward.

The programme has been privileged to meet and work with many officers from other Pacific Police Services, local and Regional NGO’s, and community organisations. It has shared laughter and understood the tears shed by some very committed and passionate people, including police officers who have been moved by a personal experience or recognised anothers personal journey, heard stories told by children and wondered about their future, marvelled at the triumph of others in trying circumstances, and in their own success stories. These experiences have both inspired and motivated the programme to move further ahead to move this very important issue forward.

The challenge continues as the programme is nearing its third year of deployments.

While many well-established non-government agencies and community organisations in the Pacific Region have been tackling this issue for some time,  Police agencies around the world including the Pacific region,  are steadily continuing to build their own capacity and are making good inroads into responding more effectively to reported incidences of domestic violence.

We are now seeing the benefits of a developed process of gathering information on domestic violence both within and outside of police organisations.  In particular CMIS is being used to better inform police managers, more arrests are being made, repeat offending identified and a zero tolerance by officers towards domestic violence offending. While these are things that are developed and being developed, we are seeing attitudes changing, albeit slowly and as Cam (Programme Manager) keeps saying: “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”.

The Regional programmes continue to move forward and we warmly welcome Vanuatu in joining the programme as the fifth participating country and at the same time, new mentor Alan McGlade from the Hamilton policing region in New Zealand who is assigned to Vanuatu. Commissioner Patu Lui is a strong advocator for the programme and we are thankful for his continued support as has Mr Jeff Langley (NZ High Commissioner) to Vanuatu.

The second ‘Train the Trainers’ (Investigative) Domestic Violence curriculum was delivered in Tonga in June this year and is being consolidated in participating and Link countries.

The CMIS database is getting a good airing, and forms an integral tool for advising local police services of the impact of DV.

The Pacific Island Law Officers Network (PILON) workshop took place this year and brought together over 40 lawyers from across the Pacific to  be trained in litigation and advocacy skills under the guiding hand of Robert  Lithgow (Chair) and up to 20 Faculty members from around the Pacific  as trainers.  For the first time in its 14 year history of training pacific  lawyers PILON has  included six Police prosecutors in the litigation skills  training, The course also now has a domestic violence component with a domestic  violence scenario added as one of the ‘fact patterns’. Participants will be trained in a mock courtroom scenario practising opening and closing remarks,  cross examination,examination in chief and examination of expert evidence  relating to a domestic violence prosecution.

We are also now looking at providing assistance to Pacific Nations in the Micronesian areas as a result of request from them at the last Pacific Island Chiefs of Police meeting in Samoa.

On the local front in NZ, we have seen a PNG Investigator complete a two-week study tour in Waitakere, Auckland and we currently have seven Pacific Police officers working in the Counties Manukau area, South Auckland, in full uniform on a two-week study tour. They will meet local NGO’s and accompany NZ Police officers on up to three nights of patrol work, observing them attend incidences, including responding to domestic violence cases. This has already had a marked effect on Pacific Police with feedback on the high standard of professionalism shown by NZ Police officers.

On an even more local front for me personally, I ready myself to join the Afghanistan contingent to assist New Zealand Police’s efforts in that region. I commence training in January/February and will deploy later in the year returning towards the end of the 2009. No! the PPDVP programme is not going global although on that front we have had many request for this programme to be developed not only in Afghanistan but in other areas outside the Pacific. While the temptation is there the reality is more sobering so as we advocated right from the beginning, small steps, small steps.

In 2009, the programme will look at intensifying its programmes of consolidating the training within police services, ensuring that capacity to respond is increased and exploring ways to create and sustain awareness of DV. “Yes we are focused on outcomes but even more so, on the impact that we are having at the local level both within Police services and on the community as a whole”

Inspector Soni Malaulau
Regional Coordinator, PPDVP

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