Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI)

Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI) has been the leading voice breaking the silence on violence against women in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).

As part of the Initiative for a Better Response to Address Violence Everywhere (iBRAVE), supported by Pacific Women and funded through the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, intense advocacy from WUTMI and its supporters resulted in the passing of the Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Act 2011 (DVPPA).

This Act makes domestic violence an offence and outlines the provisions available to increase the safety of women experiencing domestic violence through protection orders.  The passing of the law has been a significant milestone in the small atoll nation’s efforts to eliminate domestic violence, something that is directly experienced by 1 in 3 Marshellese women and also has harmful broader social impacts on the island nation.

Responding to the support needs of women and children experiencing domestic violence and facilitating access to the protections of the new law have been highlighted as an integral part of the Marshall Islands response to domestic violence, an issue that has also been included as a priority in Pacific Women’s Marshall Islands Country Plan.

Supported by Pacific Women, WUTMI has engaged a Domestic Violence Counselling Service Advisor to work with them to develop a support service for women and their children who have experienced domestic violence.  Working alongside WUTMI’s Director, Kathryn Relang and the rest of the WUTMI team, Alison Birchall will assist  to develop a domestic violence counselling centre and to strengthen the knowledge and skills of WUTMI staff to provide crisis and case management support to women and children experiencing domestic violence.

Article prepared by: WUTMI’s Kathryn Relang, Executive Director and Alison Birchall, Domestic Violence Counselling Service Advisor. The DVCS Advisor role is funded by DFAT, through the PACTAM mechanism, managed by Australian Volunteers International (AVI)