The Warwick Principles: Best Practices for Engaging Men and Boys in Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls in the Pacific

7 Dec, 2020

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre

UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office

JOINT PRESS RELEASE

New Release: Best Practices for Engaging Men and Boys in Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls

Regional– There is widespread recognition that preventing violence against women and girls requires working with men and boys as allies, partners and activists. Today, the Regional Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women and UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO), present a set of principles and best practices that allow for that while still ensuring accountability to Pacific women and girls.

The Warwick Principles[1]: Best Practices for Engaging Men and Boys in Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls, outlines seven key principles that have been developed by and for Pacific communities and are grounded in the lived realities of women and girls: 1) Be accountable to the women’s movement in the Pacific; 2) Do no harm; 3) Be grounded in a human-rights based approach; 4) Be evidenced-based and evidence-building; 5) Be inclusive and intersectional; 6) Be gender transformative; and 7) Be informed by context. The Principles are a culmination of a series of regional consultations and meeting held from 2016-2019. 

Regional Pacific Women’s Network Against VAW Chair and the Coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Shamima Ali said, ”In the Pacific, women’s rights movement have led the work on responding to violence against women and girls over the past 35 years and have played a crucial role in advancing local understanding of women’s and girls’ rights, getting the issue onto the public agenda, and providing much-needed services. FWCC developed the Male Advocacy for Women’s Human Rights and Against Violence Against Women programme, which is called the Male Advocacy programme, in short – it is used in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands. It is designed to work with men in questioning and reflecting on their own individual behaviours on gender inequality and violence against women, before they could support efforts to address violence against women and girls. We’re glad to see that the Warwick Principles reflects this – in fact we made sure that it did”.

This work is supported by the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women (Pacific Women), funded primarily by the European Union, and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, and UN Women.

The principles are also launched in this period to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women[2] which is an important day in the 16 Days Campaign, where men’s role in preventing violence is highlighted, ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Director of the Women and Children’s Centre (WCCC) Tonga shared, “…the increasing number of new actors undertaking efforts to prevent men’s violence against women and girls brings new opportunities, and the need to ensure that everyone is working from a common framework and principles that is aligned to feminist values. For us, as members of Regional Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women, it is important that there is shared understanding of the problem; agreement around the solutions when it comes to prevention and men’s role in it; and that the framework is aligned to the work we’re undertaking through our male advocacy programmes across the region”.

Shared Melkie Anton from Papua New Guinea, male advocate affiliated with The Network, and working to end violence against women, “As male advocates, our work is based on the principles of women’s human rights and women’s experiences of violence. These principles guide our work and is being led by a strong women’s network who work to end violence against women in the Pacific”.

UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Programme Specialist Abigail Erikson said, “The Warwick Principles provides a path forward to guide safe and ethical engagement of men in efforts to prevent violence against women and girls, and to undertake this work in a way that addresses concerns of Pacific feminists, that this engagement is accountable to women’s leadership, activism and the Pacific women’s movement”.  

ENDS.

Media enquiries should be directed to:

  • Shamima Ali
    Coordinator
    Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre
    Mobile: +679 9992875

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Pacific Women’s Network and the Regional Male Advocacy Programme

The Network has a membership of 129 organisations in 13 countries across the Pacific and is deeply rooted in the principles of feminism, women’s human rights, gender equality and the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls.

In 2002, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) developed the Male Advocacy for Women’s Human Rights and Against Violence Against Women programme (commonly known as the Male Advocacy programme) which is designed to work with men in questioning and reflecting on their own individual behaviours on gender inequality and violence against women, before they could support efforts to address violence against women and girls.

The programme has expanded to Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and

the Cook Islands and is implemented by members of The Network, such as the Tonga, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands crisis centres, as a signature programme; and the Family & Sexual Violence Action Committee in PNG. The Cook Islands uses it to promote women’s human rights in the country.

The fundamental principles of the Male Advocacy programme include:

  • The use of a human rights framework to increase men’s awareness of gender equality as a fundamental human right, which involves challenging traditional and cultural beliefs and practices on VAW and gender relations;
  •  The importance of men addressing their own violence before they can be effective advocates or provide counselling to other men, and the provision of training and support to facilitate this process; and
  • The importance of accountability of men’s groups to the women’s movement and to the human rights of both women and men.

Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership)

The Pacific region has some of the highest rates of violence against women recorded in the world – twice the global average with an estimated two in every three Pacific women impacted by gender-based violence. Along with high rates of violence – a grave human rights violation – women and girls in the Pacific region experience constant and continual inequalities including low levels of participation in decision-making, limited economic opportunities, and restricted access to critical services and rights.

The Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership) brings together governments, civil society organisations, communities and other partners to promote gender equality, prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG), and increase access to quality response services for survivors.

The EUR26.0 million programme is funded primarily by the European Union (EUR12.7m) with targeted support from the Governments of Australia (EUR9.5m) and New Zealand (EUR3.2m) and cost-sharing with UN Women (EUR0.6m), and is led by the Pacific Community (SPC), UN Women and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.


[1] The Warwick Principles, named after the site of the last regional meeting on Fiji’s coral coast in 2019, provides a navigational guide to ensure that we reach our destination in a way that is effective and aligned to feminist values.

[2] The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is held every year on 6 December, in commemoration of the 14 women murdered at L’École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. Remembering this horrific event has become the basis of recognising and supporting action against widespread violence committed against women in our society by men.

Navigating the Pacific Region towards Respectful and Equal Societies

There is widespread recognition that preventing violence against women and girls requires working with men and boys as allies, partners and activists. The Regional Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women (The Network) and UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO), present a set of principles and best practices that allow for that while still ensuring accountability to Pacific women and girls.

In the Pacific, women’s organisations and the women’s rights movement have led the work on responding to violence against and girls over the past 30 years and have played a crucial role in advancing local understanding of women’s and girls’ rights, getting the issue onto the public agenda, and providing much-needed services. More recently governments are taking additional action to advance prevention policies and programmes.

Pioneer women’s activists who first developed service provision for survivors of violence are being joined by newer partners from diverse fields, including the faith, peacebuilding, and sports sectors, in efforts to prevent violence against women and girls. The increasing number of new actors undertaking efforts to prevent men’s violence against women and girls brings new opportunities, and the need to ensure that everyone is working from a common framework and principles.

Within this sphere of work, new actors have emerged as donors and implementers for programmes with the intention to work with men and boys to reduce violence against women and girls. At the same time however, a number of concerns and challenges have emerged, including the implications of this work for the rights and empowerment of women and girls, as well as its place among other social and economic justice issues, such as the rights and equality of people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

As male engagement programming in the Pacific is becoming more common, there is a concerted and pressing need to examine whether such programmes adhere to both the principles of accountability to the Pacific women’s movement, and an approach grounded in the lived realities of women and girls in the region, both of which are required to have a transformational impact in changing men’s attitudes and behaviour to end violence against women and girls.

The Warwick Principles[1]: Best Practices for Engaging Men and Boys in Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls, outlines seven key principles that have been developed by and for Pacific communities and are grounded in the lived realities of women and girls:

  1. Be accountable to the women’s movement in the Pacific;
  2. Do no harm;
  3. Be grounded in a human-rights based approach;
  4. Be evidenced-based and evidence-building;
  5. Be inclusive and intersectional;
  6. Be gender transformative; and
  7. Be informed by context.

Download document here .


[1] The Warwick Principles, named after the site of the last regional meeting on Fiji’s coral coast in 2019, provides a navigational guide to ensure that we reach our destination in a way that is effective and aligned to feminist values.


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