Temotu the final stage of process to improve services for survivors of gender-based violence

Date: Friday, May 3, 2019

MEDIA RELEASE
Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs

(Solomon Islands) – The people of Temotu, Isabel, Malaita and Western Provinces have welcomed the SAFENET approach to improving services and support for women and girl victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

Central to the SAFENET approach is ensuring that all services providers – from police to hospital and crisis centre staff – are better coordinated to provide the best possible survivor-centred response and ongoing support to for gender-based violence victims, also called ‘survivors’.

Participants at the Temotu Province, led by MWYCFA with support from UN Women through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls. In Temotu, joining the SAFENET network of government and non-government members was Temotu Provincial Government, Lata RSIPF and courts, Lata MOHMS, Lata ACOM and other churches, Mothers Union, Family Support Centre, provincial committees, Temotu Provincial Council of Women, Luesalo Christian Care Center, Oxfam and World Vision and other organisations and individuals. Photo: UN Women / Doris Puiahi

Solomon Islands’ most remote province, Temotu, recently hosted the fourth and final provincial consultation. With provincial consultations completed, representatives from the four provinces are coming together for the SAFENET National Inception Workshop being held in Honiara, from 8-9 May.

The SAFENET network of government and non-government organizations is led by the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA) supported by UN Women, through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership) funded by the European Union and Australian Government with support from UN Women.

“By having SAFENET rolled out to the remote villages, this will allow mothers who are victims to access information on GBV [gender-based violence] services and have options to choose from,” according to Shirley Keniamia, Registered Nurse at Temotu’s Lata Hospital Outpatient Department, which often has patients with GBV issues who “usually only requested police services or otherwise had go through a church forgiveness process.”

Malaita Province Acting Premier, Joe Heroau, acknowledged the MWYCFA for the SAFENET rollout initiative that “directly relates to implementation of the Provincial Government’s Malaita Women’s Empowerment and Development Policy.

The SAFENET approach is clearly outlined in the SAFENET Guidebook of Standard Operating Procedures for the Multisectoral Response, Referral and Coordination of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (GBV), launched in late 2018 and now being rolled out nationally through a series of provincial consultations and a national workshop.

The SAFENET team has travelled to four provinces – Malaita, Isabel, Temotu and Western Province – consulting with provincial government, faith-based groups, civil society and other organisations about the approach and its national implementation across organisations, sectors and provinces in Solomon Islands. 

At the provincial consultations, organised by MWYCFA with support from UN Women from November 2018 to March 2019, the SAFENET team has led discussions on key priorities in the Guidebook including Standard Operating Procedures; guiding principles and survivor-centred approaches; SAFENET governance systems; minimum standards and data collection.

The SAFENET National Inception Workshop next week will present the different findings from the four provincial consultations, to help ensure the SAFENET Guidebook represents the national needs of urban and rural areas. 

The provincial SAFENET consultations reflect a key priority of the MWYCFA in its implementation of the Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Policy and the national Family Protection Act 2014 is to ensure survivors of gender-based violence have access to essential quality services both at national and provincial levels.

The SAFENET network was established to strengthen response, referral and coordination of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) services in the Solomon Islands. Members of the SAFENET network are: Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA); Ministry of Health and Medical Services; Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF); Public Solicitors Office (PSO); Family Support Center (FSC), Christian Care Center (CCC) and Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association. As SAFENET is rolled out to the provinces, its membership is increasing to include local civil society and women’s groups who play a key role in referring support services to survivors of gender-based violence who live in remote villages.

The Guidebook was developed over several years by the SAFENET members under the leadership of the Solomon Islands Government, written with extensive technical support from UN Women Fiji MCO, and funded through the global UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.

The SAFENET network has been funded by the Australian Government since 2017 through the Essential Services Programme (ESP) in Solomon Islands and, from 2019, ESP support for SAFENET continues through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls, funded by the European Union and Australian Government with support from UN Women.

 

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Ms Vaela Ngai, Acting Director, WDD, Ministry Of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs: vdevesi@mwycfa.gov.sb

For information on funding and support for SAFENET and ESP in the Solomon Islands: UN Women Solomon Islands, Doris Puiahi doris.puiahi@unwomen.org or Alvina Erekali: alvina.erekali@unwomen.org

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls: 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 programme will build on the decades of work led in the region by civil society and governments to address this issue.
The EUR 19.5million programme is funded primarily by the European Union (EUR12.7m) with targeted support from the Australian Government (EUR6.2m) and cost-sharing from UN Women (EUR0.6m). It is being jointly coordinated by the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (Forum Secretariat) and UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office.

Essential Services Programme (ESP): In Solomon Islands (SI), the government has led the SAFENET network since 2013. Since 2017, the SAFENET network has been supported through the SI Essential Services Programme (ESP), that began as a partnership between UN Women, UNFPA and the SI Government to support existing work already underway to improve access to quality essential services, funded by the Australian Government.

The SI ESP links with the global United Nations Joint Global Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence (ESP), which is a joint-UN program involving UN Women, UNFPA, WHO and UNDP.

From 2019 the ESP, and its support for SAFENET, continues through funding from 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.