Director of VPF’s Family Protection Unit, Lilly Joy says violence is everybody’s business

Director of Vanuatu Police Force’s Family Protection Unit (FPU), Lilly Joy, has appealed to all churches, chiefs and communities throughout Vanuatu to stand with them and speak out against domestic violence.

She emphasized the result of recent statistics has confirmed its rapid increase both in Port Vila and throughout the country.

“Our statistics show that violence that is reported, is increasing,” she said.

“We are now listening to these statistics and it is time for us to partner, join hands to work towards reducing this violence”.

Violence against women in particular and girls, has qualified the issue to be called “everybody’s business,” she said.

After taking part in the recent ‘End it Now’ parade organized by the Seventh Day Adventist Mission, she thanked the SDA Church for standing up against violence.

“We cannot do it alone,” she said.

“Every day we deal with this crime; a mother comes in with a broken hand, a black eye and a broken tooth or swollen head”.

She challenged the global statement that ‘Vanuatu is the happiest place on earth’ by implying that to continue to enjoy this image, all other responsible institutions need to help the police to keep the country free of its current status on how men treat their wives and partners.

Statistics from the FPU show that throughout the last three years from 2019-2021, violence has become the highest crime in Vanuatu.

“Every time we receive mothers who come to us with their complaints and evidence of violence, our statistics confirm that violence is the biggest problem in the country,” FPU Director Joy said.

“In 2019 in Port Vila alone, FPU recorded 475 cases, 2020 – 515 cases and 2021 to September – 404 cases.

“Many victims have died while others have separated (from their husbands) due to domestic violence. I wish to thank the Adventist Church for inviting FPU to take part in its ‘End it now’ parade. We are located in the VNPF Plaza and you are welcome to come and talk to us.”

In his remarks, the Vanuatu Mission President, Pastor Charlie Jimmy said, “As Seventh Day Adventists, we condemn violence and abuses in all its form while we embarrass the healing ministry of Jesus in caring and supporting all those who suffer.

“We strongly believe that the little part that we play as a church in supporting the Ministry of Justice and Community Service, Vanuatu National Council of Women, Vanuatu Women’s Centre and Police Family Protection Unit, will contribute towards diminishing and eradicating violence throughout the country.”