Campaigners tackle domestic violence in Vanuatu

  • 22/03/2015

As the HMNZS Canterbury heads to Vanuatu to support the recovery effort, the safety for women in the islands is becoming a growing concern.

Women's safety campaigners in Vanuatu are warning already high domestic violence rates could now rise following the disaster.

Eighty-thousand litres of water are packed and ready to be delivered to Vanuatu. That is just some of what is being taken to the island nation by HMNZS Canterbury, which left Devonport Naval Base today.

As well as water, the ship will deliver 200 tonnes of reconstruction materials to help rebuild the devastated community, as well as 20 vehicles and 300 staff members who are preparing for a possible five-day trip and a probable extended stay.

Although aid is continuing to flood in, food and water is still limited and there are concerns frustrations could be taken out on women.

Three out of five women are abused in Vanuatu. Women's centres there are now warning it's going to get worse and say it's an issue that's largely forgotten following a crisis.

But many locals don't know domestic violence is a crime.

"Some women do not report because they believe the beating by their spouse is okay because they should be disciplined," says Merilyn Tahi of Vanuatu's Women's Centre.

The team is travelling to communities where violence rates have already spiked, while aid from around the world continues to try and relieve some of the pressure.

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source: newshub archive