UNICEF Report: Harmful Connections: Examining the relationship between violence against women and violence against children in the South Pacific


This report is the result of an extensive desk review of existing data sources on violence against women and children in the Pacific. 

This publication also acknowledges the courageous testimony of the women who took part in the VAW prevalence research and the research teams that completed the studies. 

Violence against women (VAW) is widely condemned as a fundamental violation of human rights and is recognized as a significant public health problem, causing enormous social harm and costs to national economies (WHO, 2013: 2). It is also widely acknowledged that such violence has an effect on children (Fulu, E et.al., 2013: 5). This report is a literature review that aims to develop a deeper understanding of what is known about the connection between violence against women and violence against children (VAC) in the South Pacific Island countries. It consolidates existing evidence from studies on the intersections between VAW and VAC and focuses specifically on Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Island, Tonga and Vanuatu. The review provided an opportunity to conduct a robust comparative analysis of the data at different levels including country-level analysis. For the purpose of this review, the term ‘violence against women’ means “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life” (UN, 1993). The review draws from definitions from the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children which is used as an overall framework for addressing VAC.

The term ‘child’ refers to “every human being below the age of 18 years” and the term ‘violence against children’ refers to all forms of physical, mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment and exploitation, including sexual abuse as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a child, by an individual or group, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity” (UNSG, 2006: 6)