WCCC Annual Report January 2010 – December 2010
Welcome to the first ever Annual General Meeting of the Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC). Please find below information regarding our services, programs and statistics for the 2010 calendar year.
WCCC Mission Statement
The Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) shall work towards the elimination of all forms of violence against women and children and the overall promotion of women and children’s human rights and gender equality.
The Crisis Centre shall work shall be based on the principles of human rights and outcomes stated in the;
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Beijing Platform for Action
Millennium Development Goals
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women
UN Convention of the Elimination of Forms of Discrimination Against Women
The Commission on the Status of Women
Secretariat of the Pacific Community Triennial Conference of Pacific Women
The National Gender and Development Policy of Tonga and any other applicable international, regional or national treaties, declarations or commitments the Government of Tonga has made towards the elimination of Violence Against Women and children.
Services provided by WCCC include:
• Free 24-hour counseling
• Transitional housing for those in high risk situations - the Fale Hufanga
• I-YEL (Inspiring Young Empowered Leaders)
• Youth Roundtable
• Male Advocacy
• Community outreach and awareness
• Research and publications
• Support and legal assistance
WCCC won the Organisation Category of the 2010 Pacific Human Rights Award issued by the Secretariat Counsel of the Pacific / Regional Rights Resource Team in partnership with the Fiji Women Crisis Centre. This award recognises the staff of WCCC for working to advance gender equality in the Pacific.
WCCC also won the Global Social Change Institute and Film Festival Activist Award 2001. They commended the work of WCCC do to bring to light the realities of women and advocacy work to promote their rights.
WCCC priorities for the next 5 years:
- National Domestic Violence legislation
- Ratification of CEDAW
- Land rights for women
- Sexual Harassment Policies for all workplaces
- Gender equality
Background to WCCC
Established in October 2009, the WCCC was pioneered by a group of women and some male advocate supporters who were determined to develop an NGO that was fully independent from government.
Previously all of the staff from WCCC worked at the Tonga National Centre for Women and Children (TNCWC), which is an organisation with a similar mandate with a governing board that is dominated by Government representatives. Over the years the staff at TNCWC became increasingly frustrated by the inability of the organisation to fulfil its role as a non-government organisation - ultimately strategies developed by staff were often in direct contrast with the views held by the Government representatives who held the balance of power in the decision making process.
With autonomy the WCCC was able to intensify its advocacy and lobbying for positive law reform and policy development around violence against women, girls, and children and the promotion of women’s human rights, the rights of the child, and gender equality. The WCCC aims to assist in the process of eliminating violence against women – including domestic violence, sexual assault, rape and child abuse.
The WCCC’s core mandate is to provide free counselling and support services with the Mo’ui Ke Fiefia Safe House providing 24 hour temporary safe housing to women and children who are victims and survivors of violence. The staff are driven by their passion and determination, particularly as the WCCC’s core work focus is based on the experiences and lived stories of the women and children that have been clients of the TNCWC and now the WCCC.
The WCCC is set up as a Collective. The Collective has three interlinking arms.
The First is the governance arm of the Collective, the Management Collective. This Collective meets once every three quarters to pass quarterly acquittals and quarterly activity reports and to also ensure that the WCCC operates within the premis of the WCCC Constitution and Staff Policy Manual and all other polices and procedures developed for the purposes of sustaining a professional and credible Non Government Organisation.
The second Collective is the Staff Collective. The staff collective is responsible for the day-today operations of the both the centre and the Safe House. The policies developed by the Management Collective guides the day-to-day operations of the centre.
The third Collective is the Reference Group Collective. This Collective is mainly made up of the core stakeholders and partners of the WCCC. This group has no voting rights at the AGM however their contributions and input are welcomed throughout the year.
1. Independent Trustee: Dana Stephenson
2. Independent Trustee: Lepolo Taunisila
3. Indpendemt Trustee: Dr. Sunia Foliaki
4. Drector of WCCC: ‘Ofa Guttenbeil
5. Safe House Manager WCCC: Sr. Anunsia Fifita
1. ‘Ofakilevuka (‘Ofa) Guttenbeil-Likiliki WCCC Director
2. Sister Anunisia Fifita Mo'ui Ke Fiefia Safe House Manager
3. Susana ‘Uhatafe Counselor Advocate
4. Leti Siliva Counselor Advocate
5. Latai Peauafi Counselor Advocate
6. ‘Usaia Hemaloto Male Advocate
7. Lesila To’ia Community Education Trainer
8. Leeanne Torpey Communications Officer
9. Luisa Samani Research Officer
10. Kilisitina Pifeleti Finance Officer
11. Vika Veiongo ‘Akau’ola Safe House Carer
12. Sela Tu’ipulotu Mo'ui ke Fiefia Safe House Carer
13. Foketi Kavapele Mo'ui ke Fiefia Safe House Carer
14. Ma’ake Manu Safe House Security Guard
For more details on the staff, their years of experience and their qualifications, please visit https://www.wccc.tbu.to/our-team/
The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) has been working to eliminate violence against women since 1984 and has succeeded in influencing public opinion such that currently most sectors of society recognise and support the need for emergency services and ongoing support for women who are subjected to any form of violence in Fiji. FWCC is renowned for its pioneering work to document, analyse and support the development of practical programs and services to deal with the problem of violence in contemporary Pacific society. Three large regional branches of the FWCC have been established in key focal points around Fiji - Labasa, Nadi and Ba.
FWCC is predominantly funded by AusAid and NZAid.
Since the inception of the Women and Children Crisis Centre in Tonga, staff from the FWCC have worked closely with WCCC in order to set up a centre that exemplifies best practice, based on the excess of 25 years that they have had working sucessfully in this area.
For more details on FWCC, please visit www.fijiwomen.com
Reference Group Collective:
Integrated community service response
WCCC participates in a weekly case management meeting which brings together the two main service providers involved in the victim’s case – the Domestic Violence Unit of the Ministry of Police, the Tonga National Centre for Women and Children and the WCCC. It assists in the ability to resolve issues that arise in a timely matter and for all involved to increase their understanding of the important role that all parties play in providing the best service for survivors of violence.
This case management meetings and referral system is overseen in partnership with the Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme (PPDVP) and the Commissioner of Police, Chris Kelly.
Partnerships and stakeholder groups
Eliminating VAW in Tonga requires an integrated community services response, working alongside with policy makers and the legal community in order to provide a comprehensive and effective framework. At all levels WCCC works to enhance communications between service providers and encourages best practice that is accountable, transparent and achieving the aims of advancing the cause of human rights.
- National Domestic Violence Committee – facilitated by the Ministry of Police, this committee is focused on law reform and involving key stakeholders in the development of policy that can work to eliminate family violence in Tonga. Involved stakeholders include the Ministry of Education, The Department of Women’s Affairs, Tonga National Centre for Women and Children, The Tonga Salvation Army, Tonga Family Health Assocation, The Red Cross, Ma'a Fafine mo e Famili (MFF) and the Ministry of Health.
- Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme (PPDVP) – WCCC is a part of the training and referral strategy development being undertaken by this New Zealand based initiative with the following participating countries; Cook Islands, Samoa, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Tonga.
· Male Advocacy Group – Facilitated by WCCC’s Male Advocate, ‘Usaia Hemaloto, this group of male volunteers meet regularly to design strategies to prevent violence against women. There is a focus in the group of encouraging people to speak to their friends about health relationships in families. Male advocates often perform outreach at Kava ceremonies.
· Tonga National Counselors Network – facilitated out of the WCCC, each month counselors from Life Line, the Salvation Army, Tonga High, Vailola Hospital, Tonga National Centre for Women and Children and Tonga Family Health Association meet to improve skills and discuss strategies to improve counseling services in Tonga. As this is a fairly new area for Tongan society, general awareness and community education about the benefits and principles of professional counseling need to be undertaken.
· Ratify CEDAW – Members of women’s groups working together to ratify the UN convention on the Elimination on Discrimination Against Women. Meetings are ad-hoc and include MFF, Tonga National Congress of Women, the Public Service Association and the Human Rights and Democracy Movement.
· HIV/AIDS taskforce – Facilitated by the Ministry of Health, this brings key stakeholders working together to address the risk of HIV/AIDS spread in Tonga. This includes Tonga National Youth Congress, the Tonga Leiti’s Association, The Red Cross, Tonga Family Health Association and the Ministry of Health. WCCC’s role in the taskforce is to address the role of gender in HIV contamination.
· Young Mum’s Program – Facilitated by the Tonga Family Health Association, each week a class is run for a group of young mums which provides a support network and transfer of teaches life skills. WCCC provides support and occasionally facilitates life skills classes which have a focus that is relevant to the charter of the Centre.
· Youth Health Project – Key groups facilitate a youth festival annually in August for health promotion. Meetings held monthly from January 2010. Groups involved include the Ministry of Training, Youth and Sports, Tonga National Youth Congress, the Salvation Army ADAC group, Tonga Family Health Filitonu Group, The Tonga Street Boyz, On The Spot, Ministry of Environment and the Health Promotion Unit. WCCC promotes awareness about rape and gender violence.
Reports of Violence Against Women in Tonga are increasing. Statistics from the Ministry of Police and the Women and Children Crisis Centre show that Violence Against Women (VAW) is at critical levels.
Tongan Police commander Chris Kelley indicated that these reported cases are “the tip of the iceburg” and that ultimately the level of VAW is unknown.
• Since 2000, 2,753 women were victims of physical abuse
• 1304 convictions have been made under general assault in Tongan Law – that means that 47% of all reported cases become criminal convictions
• In 2000, 113 domestic violence reports were made to the Police
• In 2009, 404 reports were made = more than 1 case reported every day
• 4 women and one child was killed in domestic violence related incidents in 2009
The WCCC has a Research Officer whose primary objective is to maintain the consistent up-keep of data, statistics and the documentation of case studies. The Research Officer is also encouraged to keep track of statistics and data of core service providers such as the Domestic Violence Unit (Ministry of Police) and the Ministry of Health. Whilst this is quite a difficult task, it it envisaged that with the strengthening of these partnerships, Violence Against Women and Girls statistics will become consolidated with a more indepth analysis of the trends and the patterns of Violence Against Women and Girls in Tonga.
WCCC activities and statistics
Year in review 2010
For 2010 a total number of 354 clients sought the centre’s support services, including women, children and male clients. Domestic violence continues to be the most common source of support provided by WCCC, although reported cases of child abuse in 2010 have increased as have sexual violence cases including higher incidences of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The high peak season is noted between the months of May, Aug- December. However the high number of cases received in May is an anomaly - a large number of cases were referred to the centre in May although the incidents for referral occurred over a series of months. Therefore this peak is an exaggerated version of events.
The high peak season of August – December reflects the high numbers of reporting during the festivals that fall during this part of the year including the Heilala festival and Christmas festivities.
Low peak season is noted between the months Jan-April, June - July. Family obligations impact on the time and availability of women to report, which sees a dip in reporting during the beginning of the school year and also during church events of the year, where women often feel that obligations placed on them peak during this time, which they will priorities these obligations to their family and church obligations before their own welfare.
Neglect continues to be the most common reported form of child abuse. Other forms of child abuse, such as child sexual abuse, continue to be underreported with significant barriers making it difficult to report the actual level of these crimes. Barriers include a lack of appropriate legislation – without a Child Protection Act service providers have no legal baking to enter a situation if permission is not granted from a child’s direct guardians. Other barriers include a lack of trained personnel in institutions that work with children (such as teachers and health practitioners) to identify signs of abuse in children. Social stigma around reporting neglect is also significantly lower than reporting other types of child abuse, with significant causal factors of child neglect incorporating concepts that are culturally acceptable to discuss, such as poverty and hardship. Causal factors in other forms of child abuse are less culturally acceptable to discuss, with the role of the guardian of the child brought into question.
Despite increases in reported cases this year, cases of rape and sexual harassment continue to be underreported. Traditional taboos result in significant barriers to victims reporting these serious crimes- victims may feel embarrassed and frightened, and may know individuals in the institutions that they are reporting to. It is also highly likely that the victim will know the perpetrator of the crime - sexual violence is most commonly committed by an individual that is known to the perpetrator. Knowledge of the perpetrator can also be a significant barrier to reporting, with the victim concerned about ongoing relationships with the perpetrator and broader societal values of speaking out against the perpetrator.
Overall the crimes of violence against women and children that are committed – including domestic violence, child abuse and sexual abuse – are the result of gender inequalities between male and female partnerships. Analysis of the ‘the reasons for violence’ category for WCCC cases indicates that a pattern of male dominance and cultural patriarchy exists and is a significant factor in the majority of cases.
Women, who do not posses the same level of financial security as men and often feel the brunt of the social stigma about divorce, are often hesitant to leave violent relationships.
The system of patriarchy has a two fold impact on society’s ability to address violence against women. Firstly, patriarchy feeds into and encourages broadly held societal values that women are not of equal value to men. These attitudes result in increases in crimes of violence against women. Secondly, the patriarchal system discourages women from reporting crimes as they do not feel entitled to make a complaint, believing that their role in society is not of equal value to men, and that the opinion of men will be regarded as superior to their own. This sentiment may be best summed up by a client who reported a case of sexual harassment in the workplace:
“That day I felt so afraid that I can’t sleep at night for few weeks, I felt dirty and angry and when they were laughing at me I felt used ‘ little and without dignity, I also felt frustrated thinking that I can’t do anything about it, that I am powerless in this situation…”
Contributing factors data is collected by WCCC to document the reasons behind why violence occurs. Note that they are not comprehensive reasons, nor are they causes for violence, they are an aspect or feature that contribute to the violence occurring. There are different types of contributing factors that the centre uses namely: Jealousy/Power Control, Family Problems, Financial, Extra Marital Affairs, Drugs/ Alcohol and other.
Clients can be referred from many sources. The majority of clients are referred to WCCC from the Ministry of Police Domestic Violence Unit, the Ministry of Health Hospital referrals and other NGOs and relevant entities, such as district nurses. Clients also come in of their own accord, having heard about WCCC in the media, or by word of mouth – which is collected in our statistics as walk in clients.
WCCC is based in Fanga ‘O Pilolevu on Tongatapu. Serious cases from outer islands are referred by the Police, but the vast majority of services are provided to those on Tongatapu. Please consider these when looking at the following demographic statistics, as it is not a comprehensive reflection of all of Tonga. The highest numbers of WCCC clients come from the town / inner city district and Mu’a, which has a Domestic Violence Unit at the district Police Station.
New cases make up the majority of work that WCCC does, with ongoing cases accounting for 6% of the counselor’s caseload.
Mo’ui ke Fiefia Safe house statistics
46 Women and Children have stayed at the safe house in 2010. The ‘accompanying children’ category indicates that the children are not clients of the centre - they came with their mother’s who are the clients of the centre. The free, temporary housing at the safe house is only provided by WCCC to those clients who are deemed high risk and in need of a safe place to stay. A comprehensive life skills program is being developed within the safe house to help provide further development for women and children using the centre’s services.
The safe house has survived due to ongoing community support. All furniture, clothing and food at the Safe House have been donated.
Client to Counselor per month
Approximately, each counselor has an average of 10-15 clients per month. This enables each counselor to conduct follow up actions with each of their clients and check how their cases are progressing. Although it has only been a year since the centre has established it has been a busy year for the centre.
It is therefore unhealthy for each counselor to take care of more than 10 clients a month but due to the fact that the centre received a total of 354 clients last year still our counselors were able to help and support their clients through their court cases, conducting home visits and also follow up actions by phone.
Community Awareness and Advocacy Statistics
2010 witnessed the first sex trafficking case for the Kingdom, in line with increasing rates of reported cases of sex trafficking in the Pacific. Sex trafficking is when a person is held against their will and forced into committing sexual acts in exchange for gifts or money.
It is anticipated that the trend of increased reporting will continue in 2011 as community awareness about all forms of abuse increases.