A JOINT study by Fiji School of Medicine and the World Health Organisation revealed that majority of women who are victims of violence are indigenous Fijians.
Senior lecturer of the department of public health and primary care of FNU Dr Timaima Tuiketei who is one of the researchers said during the study they took data from 16 health centres around Fiji and analyzed them.
A summary of the report was launched by the Medical Officer WHO, Dr Li Dan, FSMed Dean Professor Ian Rouse and Dr Isimeli Tukana at Tanoa Plaza yesterday. The full report will be released at the end of the month.
Dr Tuiketei said there have been a lot of emphasis on violence against women in Fiji by the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, the Fiji Police had their no drop policy on violence against women but there was a gap in the information provided on the injuries related to violence on women in the health sector.
Dr Dan said about 57,000 deaths occur annually in the western Pacific region because of violence and Fiji was a part of it.
He said many more are injured and suffered a range of physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems.
The report said violence placed a burden on national economies because of expenditure on health care and law enforcement and there was loss of productivity.
Dr Tuiketei said the research was aimed at finding out the type of injuries sustained from violence and to identify the descriptive characteristics of the injuries. She said the research also aimed to determine whether health professionals in Fiji were able to manage patients who were victims of violence.
According to Dr Tuiketei, the research started in 2005 with 3027 data samples taken from the women patients.
She said statistics from the research showed that 96 per cent of the violence against women patients knew their assailant.
She said 45 per cent of the assailants were current boyfriends, 43 per cent were close family relatives, 32 per cent were their divorced husbands, 29 per cent were victim's neighbour, 27 per cent were separated husbands, 26 per cents were ex-boyfriends and 15-16 per cent were others.
The research highlighted that the main injuries seen in VAW patients were 85 per cent facial and scalp injury, 59 per cent jaw injuries, 50 per cent head injuries, 56 per cent upper limb injury, 30 per cent attempted rape and others.
She said the worrying factor was the fact that the highest number of perpetrators of violence in the study was male spouses.
She said out of the total study number of 3027, 1189 assailants were husbands, 295 were boyfriends and 65 were de-facto partners.
Dr Tuiketei said the research results showed that there was a steady increase of recorded cases over the five years from 2005 to 2009 with a slight decrease in 2008. She said there were 532 cases in 2005, 579 cases recorded in 2006, 607 cases in 2007, 584 cases in 2008 and 674 cases in 2009.
Dr Tuiketei said the research report recommended that violence against women policy and clinical management guideline be developed for Ministry of Health, training to be conducted on VAW clinical management, counseling and other areas.
She said there was a need to conduct more community awareness programs on VAW issues.