Vanuatu Women's Centre

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Violence against young women and girls in Vanuatu


The effectiveness of outreach and prevention strategies


A research project of the Vanuatu Women’s Centre



The publication of this report is supported by UN Women with funding from the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership) programme, funded primarily by the European Union with targeted support from the governments of Australia and New Zealand and cost-sharing with UN Women.

The Vanuatu Women’s Centre’s (VWC) core national program has been funded by the Australian Aid program since 1994. The New Zealand Government funded VWC’s branch in Sanma from its establishment in 1995 through to 2012, and funded VWC’s safehouse services for many years. UN Women funded VWC’s Penama branch since its establishment in January 2017. Several other donors have funded specific trainings or small projects including the British High Commission, the Austrian Government, the World Bank, UN Women, and Child Fund Australia. Support has also been received from time to time by several local organisations in Vanuatu.



This report was written by Juliet Hunt with contributions to sections 4 and 5.1 from Leikita Kalorib. It is based on an analysis workshop with VWC Network Team members in March 2019 including: Leikita Kalorib (former VWC Research/Branch Officer), Merilyn Tahi (VWC Coordinator), Tatavola Matas Kelekele (VWC Deputy Coordinator/Lawyer), Margret Tekak (VWC Lawyer), Lisa Ishmael Laban (VWC Program Manager), Miriam Bule (VWC Community Educator, now Counsellor Manager), Viran Molisa (VWC Counselling Manager, now SCC Community Educator), Maryline George (Police Liaison Officer), Kathy Bani (SCC Project Officer), Jennifer Manua (former TCC Project Officer), Grace Ralph (TOCC Project Officer), Shina Timothy (MCC Project Officer), and Rolenas Lolo (PECC Project Officer). Further validation of the analysis and conclusions was undertaken in sessions with Merilyn Tahi, Leikita Kalorib, Tatavola Matas Kelekele and Lisa Ishmael Laban in September 2019 and during early 2020. The quantitative research was undertaken by Leikita Kalorib, and the qualitative research by Juliet Hunt, using case studies written by many VWC Network staff.

This report was peer reviewed by Mashnil Shinoy (Research Officer, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre), Abigail Erikson (Ending Violence Against Women Technical Advisor, UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office), and Associate Professor Cathy Vaughan (Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, the University of Melbourne).

Please note: parts of this report may be confronting or distressing for some readers

This report includes explicit examples and analysis of many different forms of violence against women and children. 

Although the most extreme examples of violence from the database have not been included, some people may find parts of this report confronting or distressing.

Disclaimer: This publication has been produced with the financial support of the European Union, governments of Australia and New Zealand, and UN Women.  Its content is the sole responsibility of the Vanuatu Women’s Centre, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the EU, Australian Government, New Zealand Government, UN Women or any associated organisation.


Please contact the Vanuatu Women’s Centre, its provincial branches or CAVAWs if you would like to talk about your own or others’ experiences of violence against women and children – see contact details on the back cover of this report – or call 161 toll-free (24 hours) if you need help urgently.


Real names are not used in any case studies, and other details have been modified or omitted to ensure client confidentiality. Any resemblance to individuals known to readers is coincidence, since the case studies included in this report are typical of VWC’s national caseload, and of the experiences of many thousands of ni-Vanuatu young women and girls who experience similar abuse.



Vaelens Agensem ol woman

ino kastom blong mi

“Violence against women, not my culture” – VWC campaign T-shirt


>> Summary