BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
Government through the Ministry of Women this week in the 14th Triennial conference shared home-grown initiatives to address Gender Based Violence.
Director for Women Development Division, Vaela Ngai speaking in one of the plenary sessions at the conference for Pacific Women said Solomon Islands uses two of its home-grown initiatives to address Gender Based Violence.
Ngai said the two home-grown initiatives are SafeNet referral network and domestic violence counselling guideline.
“These initiatives are particularly there roll out to the provincial areas for us is still very much in the early days and still very much focused on the setting up and strengthening of the governing structures including the development of coordination and reporting tools for each of the provinces that we are rolling out to,” she said.
Ngai said SafeNet referral network consists of government ministries and agencies, CSOs and NGOs.
She said over the past years they have progressively worked to ensure the availability and accessibility of quality and essential services ranging from safe accommodation, legal advice, medical services, protection and counselling.
Ngai said for years SafeNet has been mainly established at the national level around the capital, Honiara until more recently beginning in 2018 they began rolling out to the nine provinces.
“We have rolled out SafeNet to four of the nine provinces and will continue to the remining five provinces this year. The SafeNet roll out process to the provinces has been one of great learning for us in the Solomons.
“So, while there are standard and principals that governs our SafeNet work regardless whether it is at the National or Provincial level we have to tailor the safe net model to fit the context of four provinces,” she said.
Ngai said for domestic violence counselling guideline was developed as a requirement under The Family Protection Act 2014.
She said this act aims to provide protection for the public and particularly GBV victims and survivors by establishing a registry of domestic violence counsellors in all 10 provinces of Solomon Islands including Honiara.
Ngai stressed the guideline outline process and procedures to identify domestic violence councilors who are competent and trustworthy through meeting registration criteria, signing up to code of Ethics and minimum practice standard, governance system including a complaint mechanism, monitoring standards and also processes for de-registration if practice standards are not met.
“We are currently in its prepatory phase. Prior to its roll out to nine provinces and in Honiara and we have just completed one key activity as of last week where we had pre-tested our GBV counselling training manual,” said Ngai.