Micronesian Police Officers See Value in FWCC Training

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre


Micronesian Police Officers See Value in FWCC Training

Police officers from Micronesia undergoing a Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre-facilitated training on violence against women and human rights have spoken of their improving awareness of the issue following the first week of the workshop in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

Sergeant Rebecca Bedangle from Palau said the training by FWCC would help officers and their police forces respond better to violence against women.

She said the knowledge she had gained from the workshop so far would enable her subordinate officers to help survivors of violence with appropriate referrals.

“It’s not about breaking families,” Sgt Bedangle said, “it’s about stopping the violence.”

Silk L. J. R. Silk from the Republic of Marshall Islands’ domestic violence unit, said he had attended many training sessions before on similar issues, however this was the first time he was better able to understand the dynamics behind domestic violence, rape, child abuse and sexual harassment.

The second week of training has focussed on the relevant laws relating to violence against women and the legal environment surrounding it in the Pacific.

FWCC Coordinator Shamima Ali, who is leading the three-person team in Kolonia, the capital of Pohnpei State in FSM, said the feedback and evaluation from the officers on the first week was positive, but many officers indicated they need more training especially around the existing laws.

“For most of the officers it is about changing their own behaviour,” Ms Ali said. “There has been a lot of discussion around dressing and rape.”

Twenty police officers from the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Cook Islands and the Republic of Marshall Islands are attending the training.

FWCC has been contracted under the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Pacific Police Development Program – Regional (PPDP – R) to carry out the training. This is the first time the training has been delivered in the northern Pacific, although FWCC has facilitated two other similar training sessions in Suva previously for officers mainly from the southern Pacific.

The workshop concludes this week in Kolonia, the capital of Pohnpei State.