"Violence against women must be stopped"

"Violence against women must be stopped" Violence against women and girls can and must be stopped.

According to RNZ that is the message from this week's meeting in Fiji of more than 40 practitioners and experts working on ending violence against women in the Pacific.

Representatives from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and Samoa are taking part in the regional consultation with a focus on preventing violence.

UN Women multi-country representative Aleta Miller said all parties agree violence is not inevitable and can be prevented and are seeking systematic measures to stop it.

She said this included changing attitudes which condone violence, examining gender inequality which underpins violence against women and girls, the need for women to have self-determination over all aspects of their lives and how best to engage men and boys in prevention.

Fiji Women Crisis Centre Co-ordinator Shamima Ali added her voice to the conversation calling for a scale up of prevention programmes that tackle the root cause of violence; inequality between women and men.

"However this cannot happen without equally prioritising services for survivors. When community-based prevention programmes are implemented, there is an increase in demand for services," said Ms Ali.

Director of Women from the Solomon Islands Ministry of Women, Pauline Soaki said the consultation provided a space for participants to share knowledge and experiences with each other.

"We have an opportunity to come away from this unified in how we approach and promote prevention against women and girls so we can increase equality for women and girls not just in the Solomon Islands, but across the Pacific. And we can strengthen new and existing networks to tackle violence in a collaborative way," said Ms Soaki.

The meeting began on Monday, 12 September and will wrap up on Thursday.

UN Women Multi Country Representative, Aleta Miller opens the Road to Change: A Pacific Regional Consultation on Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls in Nadi Fiji. Photo: Supplied / UN Women