The Pacific Theological College hosted a conference to explore church responses to violence against women in the Pacific (12-13 April). The event bought together experience and expertise from Fiji and the Pacific region, as well as guest speakers from New Zealand and South Africa. A central objective was the development of contextual and participatory group bible discussions to address GBV at a deeper level.

The conference was a key milestone in a New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research (NZIPR) project to strengthen the role of the church as an actor in the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) and in support of GBV survivors. It bought together service providers, policy makers, academics, theological educators and church participants.

The event built on the Nadi Accord 2014 from the Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme. The Accord (11 April 2014) declared that culture, religion and tradition can never be used as an “excuse for abuse”, and called on religious leaders to “champion the elimination of SGBV and to act with strong leadership in this regard”.

The project’s lead researcher is Dr Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko at Piula Theological College, Samoa. Earlier conferences were held at Piula Theological College (March 2018), and another is planned for University of Auckland (June 2018). The project’s title ‘Fola le ta’ui a le Atua: Rolling Out the Fine Mat of Scripture’ highlights the part that biblical resources can play in supporting church leadership on this issue.

For further information, please contact:
Dr Richard Davis, Pacific Theological College, richard.davis@ptc.ac.fj
Professor David Tombs, Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Otago at david.tombs@otago.ac.nz.

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