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Increasing protection for survivors of violence in Republic of Marshall Islands by raising awareness of rights to justice






Women in the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) have had access to the legal mechanism of protection orders since 2012. The Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Act (DVPPA), which makes protection orders available for people experiencing domestic violence, came into force in 2012. In the same year, the results of the Family Health and Safety Survey revealed that half of all Marshallese women had been subjected to physical or sexual violence from their intimate partner at least once in their life.

This protective law is consistent with regional commitments, such as those taken at the 12th Pacific Women Conference, for countries to ‘support access to justice for survivors of violence by the adoption of national legislation, effective legal assistance, and just and effective remedies.’

However, three years since the Act was passed into law, only a few protection orders have been issued. This low uptake is due to a lack of awareness of the orders, by families and women, and law enforcement officials.

Women do not always know about their rights to be protected, and police and justice systems are not always familiar with the protection orders. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, with stakeholders, is working on a project called ‘Seek and make peace’, to raise awareness of the content of the Act and its protection orders provisions among women’s groups, justice personnel and the police force.

“Women can only fully enjoy their rights when they know about and understand them” Marilyn Lakabung, Gender Manager with the Ministry of Internal Affairs said, who is part of the project.


16 Days – 16 Stories of Gender Progress in the Pacific is an initiative of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and SPC who are sharing stories of successful gender programs across the region and highlighting the regional policies that guide them. The Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration has a specific priority on ending violence against women. Related commitments include the Ministerial Communiques and Pacific Women’s Triennial Outcomes. The 2015 Pacific Regional MDGS Tracking Report Progress noted the Republic of Marshall Island’s progress: Secured funding for the establishment of counselling services. Uptake on accessing services for victims of violence improved. Conducted advocacy and training programs on the Family Safety Act. 



 

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