New Zealand High Commission Port Vila, Vanuatu

NZ-Vanuatu Partnership Against Domestic Violence

The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Arthur Caulton Edmandley, and the New Zealand High Commissioner, HE Jeff Langley, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Police forces regarding cooperation under the Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme (PPDVP). This will see the PPDVP extended to support the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) as it develops the skills to tackle the growing rate of domestic violence.

 The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Arthur Caulton Edmandley, and the New Zealand High Commissioner, HE Jeff Langley with the signed MOUThe signing ceremony was also attended by VPF Chief of Staff, Daniel Vake Rakau, and by NZ Police Superintendent Murray Lewis who was in Port Vila to interview VPF staff for a secondment to the Community Policing Project in Bougainville.

The Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme is a joint initiative between the New Zealand Government, Pacific Island Chiefs Police (PICP), the VPF.

The initiative is aimed at reducing domestic violence and focuses on strengthening Pacific police capacity to prevent domestic violence. The programme delivers training and resources to build key networks within local police, government and non government organisations, so they can provide support and learn from each other’s experiences to formulate appropriate responses to domestic violence.

The issue of domestic violence is a worldwide phenomenon and one aim of the programme is to take the learning back to New Zealand to assist New Zealand Police understand the different cultural aspects surrounding domestic violence.    The programme is very much a two-way street, and the PICP have expressed their overwhelming support for the programme’s initiatives.

The regional programme is based in Wellington and involves two main components:

  • A Regional focus looking at consistent processes, procedures and approaches to domestic violence and developing and maintaining effective networks at all levels. It will also have a focus on examining best practice, a model curriculum for training in dealing with domestic violence and scoping the possibility of model legislation dealing with domestic violence.  
  • The second component involves a more intensive “in-country” focus. The Programme sees five New Zealand Police staff deployed to five Pacific countries including Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Kiribati and Vanuatu to work closely with local police looking at local internal systems, processes and policies, training and what legislation exists in relation to domestic violence.

Senior Sergeant Alan McGlade, the New Zealand Police representative to Vanuatu, says that "the goals are ambitious but there are some very committed and passionate police staff, agencies and individuals already working in the field and we hope to work very closely with them to support existing initiatives and look at formulating some new ones".  

The VPF already have a dedicated Family Protection Unit responsible for the investigation of child and sexual abuse offences. Working in partnership with the PPDVP this unit is to be expanded to begin addressing police methods of response, investigation and prosecution of domestic violence offences. The unit will also look to forge closer relationships with key non government organisations working in this field to develop a more comprehensive response to domestic violence.

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