Tonga committed to addressing domestic violence

DSCF1830A strong commitment to reducing the impact of domestic violence in Tonga has been made by the Tonga Police.  Police Commander Chris Kelley told the recent Train the Trainer programme that violence is not acceptable. 

Commander Kelley has been consistent in delivering this message on behalf of all the Tonga Police, firstly at the White Ribbon Day ceremonies on 25 November 2008 and at other opportunities since then. 

During the May training programme Tongan media organisations took the chance to publicise the training and to see it in progress.  The Commander held a briefing with the PPDVP Programme Manager, Cam Ronald, and Assistant Police Commander Itu Tupouniua who is the executive level sponsor of the domestic violence activities in the Tonga Police.  Itu described how the police have established coordinators in each police district and outer islands, to ensure that a consistent approach is taken across all of the community in how the police respond to these crimes.  She emphasised the multi agency approach that was being developed, especially with the established NGO’s already working with women and victims in Tonga.

Programme Manager Cam Ronald outlined how the PPDVP was working with the Tonga Police to support their initiative through the delivery of training programmes, as well as the chance to see how others worked through study tours and programmes linked with pacific countries and with New Zealand. 

Late last year the head of the Tonga Police Domestic Violence Unit, Detective Sergeant Seteone Poutele, joined 11 others from across the pacific to work with New Zealand Police staff, the Courts, and a range of organisations and agencies in how they responded to domestic violence cases.   These lessons have now been applied in Tonga. 

“There is a strong partnership between the Tonga Police and the NGO’s in Tonga, especially the Tongan Centre for Women and Children, as well as others like the Lifeline and the Salvation Army,” Cam said.  “This guarantees that everyone is working together to protect families and making sure that the best possible solution is found to their problems.”

“The 2009 Tongan Police Strategic Plan will focus on Community Reassurance; Policing with Confidence; and Organisational Development.  One of our key activities will be our response to violence and especially domestic violence.  Everyone will have a part in this, and will be led by the coordinators completing their training today,” said Commander Kelley.

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