National support for better counselling and support for domestic violence victims

Date: Friday, September 6, 2019

[Media Release] - Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs

Monday 2 September 2019 (Solomon Islands)  – Victims of domestic violence and other sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) require specially trained counsellors and support services to recover from the violence. 

To address this need, a series of consultation workshops for the draft Solomon Islands Domestic Violence (SI DV) Counselling Framework was held across the nine provinces with a focus on improving services for rural areas.

Photo: UN Women/Doris Puiahi

The Domestic Violence Counselling Framework consultations involved provincial and village services, and members of the SAFENET Referral Network of government and non-government organisations who provide services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

The series of workshops and the framework’s development is led by the Ministry of Women Youth Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA) in partnership with 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.

“Victims of domestic violence and other sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), should soon have improved counselling support once this Solomon Islands Domestic Violence Counselling Framework is completed and implemented,” said Ms Vaela, Supervising Director, Women’s Development Division, MWYCFA.

“We are pleased with the successful nine-province consultations on the first official draft of the national Counselling Framework,” said Ms Vaela.

“We are now using the feedback to update the Counselling Framework, with the second draft of the framework to be presented at a National Validation Workshop next week, also funded by UN Women through the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls.”  

During each of the five-day workshop consultations, counselling service providers, non-government organisations (NGOs), associations, faith groups, authorities and other SAFENET partners came together to review and learn about existing SGBV services and systems in each province, including existing referral and counselling services. 

There were nine consultation workshops held – one in each province - over several months, from November 2018 to July 2019, with the feedback collated and added to the Counselling Framework this month, ready for the final National Validation Workshop in September. 

In each province, local service providers discussed how these services were currently coordinated, documenting gaps in service delivery and ideas for proposed improvements. 
Using this information and ideas, participants then reviewed the first official draft of the Solomon Islands Domestic Violence (SI DV) Counselling Framework, and suggested ideas of how it could better connect – and grow – with existing and proposed provincial SGBV services and systems. 

The provincial consultations also provided feedback on ways to regulate DV counselling services; to create a registry for registered DV counsellors including a Code of Ethics and Practice standards and clarity around training requirements and support; to strengthen domestic violence counselling skills at national and regional levels; and to strengthen quality assurance through clinical supervision of, and support for, domestic violence counsellors at national and regional levels.

The SAFENET Response and Referral Network (SAFENET) is led by the Ministry of Women Youth Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA), Women’s Development Division, in partnership with 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. 

The Pacific Partnership works in collaboration with UN agencies and partners, building on previous joint programmes such as the UN-Solomon Islands Government Joint Programme and the United Nations Joint Global Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence (Essential Services Package or ESP). The ESP was piloted worldwide, including in Solomon Islands and Kiribati with support from UN Women and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with funding from the Australian Government.

Members of the SAFENET network in Solomon Islands continue to grow, and include: MWYCFA, Ministry of Health and Medical Services; Royal Solomon Islands Police Force; Public Solicitors Office; Family Support Center; Christian Care Center; and Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association. 

 

Media enquiries

  • Mary Kivo Information and Networking Officer, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA), Ministry of Women, Youth | Phone: 23544/7380645 | Email: MKivo@mwycfa.gov.sb
  • Juliana Zutu, SAFENET Coordinator (WDD) | Phone: 23544/7654096 | Email: JZutu@mwycfa.gov.sb 

For information on funding and support for SAFENET and Pacific Partnership in the Solomon Islands:

  • Doris PuiahiUN Women Solomon Islands | Email doris.puiahi@unwomen.org 


Background: 

SAFENET has been operating in Solomon Islands since 2008 – formalised via a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2013. Since inception, the network’s members have developed the SAFENET Standard Operating Procedures; SAFENET governance systems; minimum standards and data collection; and SAFENET guiding principles and survivor-centred approaches. The network’s survivor-centred 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 late 2018 and being rolled-out nationally from 2019 with support from UN Women through the the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls. The Pacific Partnership – funded by the European Union and Australian Government with support from UN Women – collaborates with UN agencies and partners particularly the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that partnered with UN Women for the trial in Solomon Islands and Kiribati of the United Nations Joint Global Programme on Essential Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence (Essential Services Package).