Addressing domestic violence against women – an unfinished agenda

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BY ELLISON VAHI

“DOMESTIC violence is a burden on numerous sectors of the social system and quietly, yet dramatically, affects the development of a nation batterers cost nations fortunes in terms of law enforcement, health care, lost labour and general progress in development. These costs do not only affect the present generation; what begins as an assault by one person on another, reverberates through the family and the community into the future.”

This was stated by DFAT rep Ms Jemma Malcom during her speech during the SAFENET trainers closing at the IBS compound.

In her speech she stated that with public knowledge and information, Solomon Islands is one of the highest rates of violence against women.

She said that as Domestic violence is a global issue reaching across national boundaries as well as socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions, studies in 2009 has provided the evidence of 64 percent of women between the ages of 15-49 years have experience both sexual and physical violence by their intimate partners.

“This statistic is quite alarming,” Malcom said.

She also said that, that is why her ministry is responsible under the Family Protection Act, that SAFENET members must be equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to implement the legislation in an informed and gender-aware approach.

“We have a responsibility as duty bearers to provide the basic essential services to our own women and girls, men and boys who experience violence, and I am urging you to take your responsibility seriously,” she said.

In assurance that the Government in its policy statement is clear on eliminating violence against women and girls, Malcom adds that her ministry has action this call though its commitment made in the revised policy on eliminating violence against women and girls.

Malcom adds that their responsibility in implementing the Family Protection Act is ongoing as well their collaboration with key government agencies, stakeholders and development of the national counselling framework, and for primary prevention initiatives, to change the attitudes towards violence against women to be consistent and sustainable.

She also said that as with the family protection Act, and the EVAW policy and advocacy and awareness, they consider the need for the referral network or SAFENET as essential and anticipate that demand for it in the provinces will soon call for them to expand.

She adds, but with the support of the UN women Essential services Packages for Women and Girls, they have seen through the full range of essential services that every victim of violence have prompt access to; sexual and reproductive health services, support to ensure mental and physical health, wellbeing and safety as well access to justice and police services.

“It is my hope that the members of SAFENET being trained under the FWCC for 2 weeks will further add value to their work as the frontline services provides in ensuring that victims of violence will have; rapid access to a health clinic that can and will administer emergency medical care and medical practitioner who can conduct a forensic examination within 72 hours of the attack, and as well have access to case management support, counselling and that they are able to counsel within their cultural and religious requirement.”

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