Benito Cantero DIRECTOR of Police Pohnpei: New Law, New Attitude!

9 Feb, 2018

[GUAM Feb 09 2018] According to Benito Cantero, Director of Police in Pohnpei, it took approximately ten years for the women of Pohnpei to successfully push through legislation on family violence. The Domestic Issues Act (2017) provides for mechanisms and procedures to deal with incidents of Domestic Violence.

The law was passed just two months ago, which means that all key stakeholders in Pohnpei will have to lift their game, “our biggest challenge is that we need all our officers to undergo training to understand the new law first, and just as important is that they need to attend a training like this to learn about violence against women, gender and human rights so that they can improve the way we police respond to domestic violence,” says Benito.

Captain Edmund Hermis, also attending the training, says that this is his second time to attend a training conducted by Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, “before undergoing the first training my attitude and perception of women and domestic violence cases was very negative and I didn’t prioritise it but after that initial training and now this training I have seen a big difference in my own outlook where my perception of women is more positive now,” says Hermis.

Hermis believes that the majority of police on the force hold a negative perception towards women and domestic violence cases, “a training like this will help change attitudes and with the new law that’s what we need, a new law with new attitudes,” says Hermis.

Hermis says that when they return to Pohnpei he would like to work on three key action areas; educating their police on the new legislation, developing a policy or manual on how to receive, respond and investigate cases of domestic violence and finally to look at developing a better working relationship with women’s groups in the community, “I also think that this type of training is good for our women folk because they will also benefit from learning about gender, their rights and the law,” says Hermis.

Bento believes that a specific Domestic Violence Unit could assist with rolling out the legislation and ensuring its implementation, “I’ve been listening carefully to those who have such units and maybe it could be something that we could look at back home,” says Bento.

Bento and Hermis are both attending the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) Gender and Human Rights Training for Senior Executive Level Police Officers from the Micronesian region in Guam [ENDS]

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