On 5 July 2010, the Director of Tonga’s Women and Children’s Crisis Centre (WCCC) said that more rigid laws are needed to combat the illegal importation of weapons. This follows a recent charge of unlawful possession of a firearm laid against man alleged to have shot a security guard outside a nightclub.
Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki said the WCCC is greatly concerned about illegal guns getting into Tonga and fears it could lead to an increase in violence. “If we look at the current political reforms that we’re in right now, I mean we’re just around the corner from our general elections, you know that last thing we want is for this to turn violent. The last thing we want is to for people to have access to illegal guns.” She added that a greater level of awareness of the involvement of guns in domestic violence is needed as levels are increasing.
The WCCC runs a shelter and, along with providing counseling and care support, its staff focuses on community education, advocacy and research and lobbying for positive policy and legislative change, women’s empowerment and male advocacy.