Joining forces to protect women and children in Kiribati

The Australian Federal Police and the New Zealand Police have joined forces with the Kiribati Police Service as part of a long term campaign to reduce the harm from domestic violence.

A new Toyota RAV4 vehicle was handed over to the Commissioner of the Kiribati Police, Ieoru Tokantetaake in a ceremony at police headquarters in Betio on Tuesday 23rd of July.

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Handing over of the vehicle – L to R – Cam Ronald, Programme Manager PPDVP, Commissioner Ioeru Tokantetaake, Inspector Eribwebwe Takirua – OC Domestic Violence Team, NZ High Commissioner Mike Walsh, and Australian High Commissioner George Fraser.

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The vehicle is for the use of the Police Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Unit (DVSO) to assist them to carry out their duties.

The vehicle was funded by the Australian Federal Police through their Pacific Police Development Programme – Regional which has an agreement to work with the NZ Police Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme (PPDVP).    The vehicle is a major item in a range of support that has been provided by the PPDVP since they began to work alongside the Kiribati Police in 2006.

The NZ Police mentor working with Kiribati Police had identified the need for a specific vehicle to assist the DVSO in their interaction with the Kiribati Police around South Tarawa.  The vehicle will be used for a range of purposes including training of staff and communities and awareness.  “The vehicle carries a message in I’kiribati of “Kamanoia aine ao Ataei” (Protect Women and Children) and it will act as a mobile bill board” said Commissioner Tokantetaake.

In handing over the vehicle the New Zealand High Commissioner emphasised the strong links between New Zealand and Australian Police, with the local Kiribati Police.  “This vehicle  demonstrates the commitments of Australia and New Zealand to work together with the Kiribati Government to help to prevent the harm from domestic violence” High Commissioner Mike Walsh said.

The Australian High Commissioner George Fraser noted the changes occurring in Kiribati to strengthen laws to protect families, and he “acknowledged the strong connections between the police services both here in Kiribati and across the pacific.”   The High Commissioner also noted the links with other programmes and activities where Australia was active in supporting the positive changes around saving women and families from violence, across the pacific.

“PPDVP has joined with the AFP PPDPR in our work in Micronesia since the start of this year. Our agreement has allowed us to extend PPDVP’s support to other countries including Kiribati.  The need for the vehicle was recognized by AFP when we raised it, and they provided funds via PPDVP to make it happen” said the PPDVP Programme Manager – Cam Ronald. “This vehicle will help to transport victims of domestic violence, and their families, when they need to be moved to a safe place and when they seek assistance from the Police”

A second vehicle which was bought in Tarawa was also provided under the agreement and this vehicle will be used for general police enquiries and duties.

 

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