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Tonga has highest rate of domestic violence outside marriage in the Pacific
1:06 pm GMT+12, 13/03/2012, Tonga
Tonga has the highest rate of domestic violence, outside marriage, in the Pacific.

That's according to the first national report on Violence Against Women launched in the capital, Nuku’alofa Monday. It says that girls as young as 15 are being abused by fathers and teachers.

The report is the first ever national study on violence against women in the island kingdom and was presented to the Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano at the launch ceremony held at the Fa'onelua convention center.

The report found cases of domestic violence in marriage and relationships, but most of these cases were reported between father and daughter and teacher and pupil. These are called non partner relationships, according to research coordinator at the women and family center, Gabriella ‘Ilolahia.  

“More than two out of three or 68% of the women in Tonga says they have experienced physical violence by someone other than a partner since they were 15 years old.  Most women who reported physical violence by other partners, this has happened more than five times, perpetrators - fathers and teachers.  When comparing partner and non partners, it becomes clear that women in Tonga are almost three times by non-partners than by partners,” ‘Ilolahia explained to Radio & TV Tonga News.

Research consultant from the University of the South Pacific, Dr. Se’ula Fua-Fonua, said that within a relationship, unfaithfulness, alcohol and not getting on with in-laws are also to factors.
 
“People who've just got married need to move out from their in-laws. I would also encourage parents to divide their land equally between the sons, so that the second and third son can move out from their parents’ home when they get married and build a life of their own. Sometimes family intervention leads to big dramas in households,” said to Dr. Fua-Fonua.

More than 600 Tongan women and forty Tongan families took part in this survey.  

The research was carried out by the Women and Family Center in Nuku'alofa and funded by AusAID and the Canadian and British Government.


SOURCE: RADIO &TV TONGA/PACNEWS

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