-Increase in domestic violence, trafficking
-Gov’t urged to invest up to $20m in safe houses
By EDDIE OSIFELO
OPPOSITION Leader, Matthew Wale is urging government to invest $10-20million over the next five years to establish safe houses for victims and survivors of violence.
This was after Vaela Ngai, supervising director for the Women’s Development Division (WDD) within the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs highlighted the prevalence of violence to the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament last week.
Ngai said from data collected from the Safenets, Christian Care Centre at Tenaru recorded 10-15 percent in 2020.
She said Family Support Centre recorded 10-11 percent in the first quarter of this year.
“While in the past they usually deal with four clients, now double to eight clients per day with only five counsellors,” she said.
Ngai said while the centres focus on victims or survivors of domestic violence, now they are receiving other victims and clients trafficking and People Living With Disability and children.
She said in recent years children were mainly girls, but now boys as well.
Further to that, Ngai said the six rooms at Christian Care Centre in Auki, Malaita province are always full to accommodate victims or survivors of violence.
She said the centre has extended to nine rooms and currently functioning as well to accommodate more clients.
This revelation got Wale off his feet as he urged the ministry to pursue the strong case with the government to get more funding compared to its budget cut this year.
“You need to persuade this case very forcefully to touch their hearts.
“Unfortunately problems over many years. But perhaps this is the greatest need in our society, marginalised and neglected in our society, really it is up to you to make the advocacy to make sure they get the response,” he told the ministry.
He said a society is only as good as its weakest and this is a reflection of our Solomon Islands society.
“It is not a very good reflection, we pretend we better than we really are.
MWYCFA Permanent Secretary, Dr Cedrick Alependava said the ministry had asked for more budgets in the past but it was always slashed.
However, he said other stakeholders and donors like UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women, DFAT and NZ Government are working with the ministry to address these issues as well.
PS Alependava said this maybe the reason the government normally slashed their budget.
However, he said it is very try that some mothers come into the safe places with 2-5 children.
“If we can help provide safe house for women, we are helping the children,” he said.
Furthermore, Ngai said the ministry plans to roll out safenet for victims and survivors to Malaita, Western, Temotu and Isabel.
She said the ministry is open to roll out to the provinces if they welcome the safenets.