International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence

More coordinated services for Kiribati women and girl survivors of violence

Date: Saturday, November 24, 2018

Tarawa, Kiribati — Women and children in Kiribati confronted by violence will have improved access to more timely and relevant services across government and civil society agencies.

More coordinated services for Kiribati women and girl survivors of violence

The Kiribati Government through Ministry of Women, Youth, Sport and Social Affairs (MWYSSA) has launched its Kiribati Standard Operating Procedures for Gender-Based Violence Response, in partnership with the SafeNet network of government and non-government frontline service providers and UN Women.

The launch of the Standard Operating Procedures is a major achievement and coincides with the start of this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which starts on 25 November and continues to Human Rights Day on 10 December.

Kiribati Vice President and Minister for MWYSSA, Mr Kourabi Nenem, explained: “this is part of the government’s increasing commitment to address this issue, following the Kiribati Family Health & Support Study that showed the devastating levels and results of domestic violence in Kiribati impacting on women and children.”

“In response to the study and to meet survivors’ needs, the government established the SafeNet committee within MWYSSA, that has now led the development of the Kiribati Standard Operating Procedures for Gender-Based Violence Response guidebook. He further explained that: “the government is escalating its commitment and leading combined efforts to provide more practical and institutional support to keep women and children safe in their homes and communities, and to assist survivors to best recover from the experiences they have faced.”

The launch of the SOPs is one of a number of key initiatives being led by the Government of Kiribati to address the high rates of women experiencing violence by an intimate partner, as documented in the Kiribati Family Health & Support Study (2010) , which also includes the Strengthening Peaceful Villages project which aims to prevent violence within villages.

The SOPs provide a clear roadmap for different government and non-government organisations to work together more effectively - and across various sectors from health to justice - to better provide the services needed by survivors.

The document defines key terms and sets Minimum Standards of practice; outlines SafeNet partner roles and responsibilities; and provides guiding principles to ensure each survivor’s needs are addressed from a rights-based and survivor-centred perspective. It also includes referral and risk assessment tools to ensure safe, coordinated responses between all sectors in line with the Minimum Standards.

SafeNet is a network of government and non-government frontline service providers who provide response and support services to survivors of violence – from police and health to crisis centre services. SafeNet is led by MWYSSA with technical and coordination support from UN Women through the United Nations Joint Global Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence (ESP), funded since 2017 by the Australian Government. From 2019, UN Women support for SafeNet will continue through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls, funded by the European Union and Australian Government with cost-sharing from UN Women.

The network’s members are: Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Crisis Centre, Ministry of Women, Youth, Sport and Social Affairs, Kiribati Woman and Children Support Centre, Kiribati Police Service, Office of the People’s Lawyer and Office of the Attorney General.

UN Women’s Representative, Mr Nicolas Burniat praised the work of MWYSSA in leading development of the nation’s first multi-sectoral Standard Operating Procedures for Gender-Based Violence Response. “By having service providers working together to better coordinate referrals for survivors, and more clearly connecting frontline services, we can significantly increase the likelihood of women and girl survivors getting the quality help they need, when they need it,” Mr Burniat said.

“UN Women is delighted that Kiribati has joined other Pacific governments – namely Fiji and Solomon Islands – who have over the past year adopted for the first time service delivery protocols.”

Mrs Anne Kautu said: “With technical support from UN Women, the Government of Kiribati has led the development of this key document in collaboration with SafeNet members frontline service provider across health, police, counselling and advocacy, shelter, legal and judicial helping women and children survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).

“We gratefully acknowledge the significant contribution of all SafeNet stakeholders for their dedication and contribution to improve services for survivors of gender-based violence in Kiribati,”

“The Ministry acknowledges, and is grateful for, the significant contribution of all SafeNet stakeholders for their dedication and contribution they have put forward to improve the needed services for the survivors of gender-based violence in Kiribati.”

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Mrs Anne Kautu

For information on funding and support for SafeNet and ESP in Kiribati, or for an interview with UN Women contact the UN Women Country Programme Coordinator, Katarina Tofinga Email: katarina.tofinga@unwomen.org

BACKGROUND:

  1. SafeNet is supported by the United Nations Joint Global Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence (ESP) being piloted worldwide, including in the Pacific region in Solomon Island and Kiribati (led by the Kiribati Government though Ministry of Women, Youth, Sport and Social Affairs (MWYSSA) with technical and coordination support from UN Women). The ESP is a practical set of tools and resources, along with minimum standards, setting out a clear roadmap to ensure the provision and coordination of quality response services for survivors, and across all services including health, social services, police and justice sectors. ESP is an international joint-UN program involving UN Women, UNFPA, WHO and UNDP that began in 2017 in the Pacific – continuing existing work already underway to improve access to quality essential services – coordinated by UN Women Fiji MCO and funded by the Australian Government. From 2019 the ESP, and its support for SafeNet, will continue to operate through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls, funded by the European Union and Australian Government with support from UN Women Fiji MCO.
  2. Strengthening Peaceful Villages programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Women, Youth, Sport and Social Affairs (MWYSSA) in South Tarawa, with sustained operational and technical assistance from UN Women. The SPV programme aims to reduce rates of violence against women. It adapts elements of the SASA! intervention, an evidence-based community mobilisation programme that aims to prevent intimate partner violence (IPV), originally developed in Uganda and now adapted for many countries around the world.
  3. The Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership) brings together governments, civil society organisations, communities and other partners to promote gender equality, prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG), and increase access to quality response services for survivors. The EUR 19.5million programme is funded primarily by the European Union (EUR 12.7m) with targeted support from the Australian Government (EUR 6.2m) and cost-sharing from UN Women (EUR 0.6m).