“The online information and reporting portal will allow us to assist DV and GBV survivors with legal information and counselling online from FPLAC’s key partners without compromising the protection of confidentiality of the cases. We aim that through the process using the digital platform, survivors will be empowered to make their own safety plans, access justice and re-establish their lives,” she added.
The FPLAC was established as a pilot project in 2018 under the Ministry of Justice as a joint initiative with the Pacific Community (SPC) through its Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT). It is the first of its kind in the Pacific, established specifically to assist DV and GBV survivors and provide quality free legal assistance to survivors. The pilot period (2018-2019) saw a total of 368 clients seeking legal assistance from the FPLAC and 268 were eligible for the free legal service.
In 2019, the FPLAC took part in the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion Program (REACH) mobile service delivery programme, co-funded by UNDP and UN Women. Through the REACH integrated service delivery platform government and civil society organizations travelled as a team to remote communities, conducted awareness raising programmes and delivered various public services directly to community members at their doorsteps, including remote island communities in Vava’u, ‘Eua and Ha’apai. The REACH platform significantly contributed to the expansion of FPLAC’s capacity for awareness raising and service delivery to remote communities in Tonga.
The FPLAC digital justice support initiative is based on the earlier study which presented that Tonga’s outer islands have relatively good internet coverage and women in communities have been strong mobile smartphone users. However, being aware of the digital gap and divide marginalized groups are experiencing, the FPLAC continues strengthening its physical outreach through the REACH mobile integrated service delivery platform, while advocating for policies and programmes that aim to make technology more accessible to marginalized groups.
Mr Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji said, “UNDP is pleased to see the development of the digital service delivery evolved from the REACH integrated service delivery programme in Tonga. I fully support this initiative taken by the FPLAC which will assist DV and GBV survivors to access justice.”
Empowering the DV and GBV survivors to access justice and restore their human rights, the FPLAC digital justice support initiative aims to contribute to achieving Tonga’s Sustainable Development Goals with focus on Goal 5: gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls and Goal 16: peace, justice and strong institutions.
For media queries, please contact:
Vika Akau’ola, Family Protection Advocate, FPLAC; email: email@example.com; Tel: (+676) 26388 or 26387
Tomoko Kashiwazaki, Advocacy and Outreach, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: (+679) 715 8051