BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Wale has slammed DCGA government for not allocating enough fund in the 2021 Budget to address gender-based violence which he says has increased sharply.
Wale when debating on the on the 2021 Appropriation Bill on Friday said the government clearly does not take seriously the scourge of domestic and gender-based violence in our society beyond the rhetoric.
“If it did, the size of allocations would show it,” Wale said.
“We are not unlike any other country in the world in this matter unfortunately.
“Gender based violence has increased sharply in recent times, at least by 15 percent where records are kept, and we don’t even have a proper recording system for this problem,” Wale said.
Wale said the need for refuge or safe houses in each province is both urgent and desperate.
He said the Government cannot continue its current business as usual attitude to this problem in our midst.
“It must collaborate with the churches and NGOs and invest in a rollout of safehouses across the nation, whilst simultaneously adopting a proactive preventative approach.”
He added that given the urgency and desperation of this situation, it is important that government considers renting properties for safe houses, as it plans for long term solutions.
“There is nothing in this budget to address this cancer. Is it because this problem predominantly affects women, young girls and children?” Wale questioned.
He said that in difficult uncertain times, “we must unite to fight together. Such unity is empty if we continue to turn a blind eye to the weak, the marginalised, the suffering, the abused, the violated in our midst.
“I am very ashamed of this blatant, and it seems deliberate, neglect. We continue on with our insulated lives oblivious to the suffering of our women folk.
“This is not the Solomon Islands society we want to see or build,” he said.
Wale said the Government must show more empathy and compassion.
“Health safety and social safety are connected to national security – surely there is somewhere in these cold-blooded calculations that we can find to fit in funding for our vulnerable and abused women, girls and children.
He made a direct appeal to the PM to intervene personally in this matter and find serious funding to adequately respond to this great need.