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News

Ethical standards important for safe houses

November 13, 2012 6:14 pm

Participants at a regional meeting on the elimination of violence against women and girls in Nadi say there’s an urgent need to agree to ethical standards to ensure safe houses are effective.

Discussions at the sixth Pacific regional meeting focussed on the availability of shelters and ethical standards that must be adhered to.

According to Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre deputy coordinator, Edwina Kotoisuva, one of the major issues surrounding women’s refuges in Fiji and the Pacific is that of confidentiality.

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“Most of the time people will know where the safe house is because we have such small communities. We have some people that have come to the homes that are run in Fiji. The husbands come up and the caretaker will immediately say yes your wife is here and bring her out so that’s placing that woman at risk. The confidentiality can be just saying we don’t know if she is here.”

Kotoisuva also says institutions which deal with women survivors of violence need to put in place codes of ethics that comply with international standards of care that are rights based.

She adds organisations running refuges shouldn’t view themselves as “saving” abused women; instead the process should be focussed on empowering women to rebuild their lives.

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