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Pacific Women’s Against Violence Network to roll-out gender based counsellor training package

Representatives of 13 crisis centres who are members of the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (PWNAVAW) have converged in Fiji to discuss the roll-out of the Gender-Based Violence Counsellor Training Package for the Pacific.

The three-day meeting of Pacific experts will see the continuation of decades long progress led by the crisis centres towards standardising best practice approaches to gender-based violence counselling in the Pacific.

The meeting has been organised in partnership with the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and the UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office, through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women (Pacific Partnership).

“We are pleased to be hosting our Network members from the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, to discuss how we will adapt and roll-out the gender-based counsellor training package in each of our countries. It’s a good opportunity for us to also discuss the next big step in this process which is the Regional Counsellor Training-of-Trainer’s workshop coming up in April. Our aim is for all women and girl survivors across the Pacific to access uniform and consistent survivor-centered counselling from trained counsellors when they come to our centers,” said Shamima Ali, FWCC Coordinator, and PWNAVAW Chair.

The package, adapted from training materials previously developed and used by FWCC across the region over the last three decades, will be used by new and experienced trainers from Pacific Island Countries working on violence against women and girls and women’s human rights.

“We are pleased to continue supporting the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women in responding to violence against women and girls and congratulate them in undertaking this next step that will see the standardisation of gender-based violence counselling in the Pacific,” said Delphine Serumaga, Representative for UN Women.

“Gender-based violence counsellors are critical front-line service workers, and this package includes a comprehensive curriculum adapted from materials that work for the Pacific, and meets international standards. This will further enhance the accessibility and quality of services for women and girls across the region for years to come. I wish the Network members all the best in their discussions and UN Women stands ready to support their implementation plans as part of our ongoing partnership.”

Following the three-day meeting, representatives of the PWNAVAW and UN Women will join the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Counselling Sub-Committee of the Regional Working Group on the Implementation of Family Protection and Domestic Violence Legislation (RWG), at a two-day regional stakeholder dialogue to discuss, amongst other key issues, the development of a regional gender-based violence/domestic violence counselling framework – a need that was identified by the Counselling Sub-Committee at the 2021 and 2022 RWG Annual Meeting. SPC will lead the coordination of the meeting in partnership with UN Women.