Joint Statement by the Ministry Women, Youth, Children & Family Affairs and SAFENET

Written by Lyn Vaike. Posted in Press Releases



Ministry of The Women, Youth, Children & Family Affairsand the SAFENET Group, are condemning in the strongest terms, the killing of a former national beauty queen contestant, Ms Patricia Taika about a week ago in Noro.

The Government of the Solomon Islands recently established a formal referral system called the Referral SAFENET made up of both government and non-government organizations/agencies to provide coordinated, frontline services and support to survivors/victims of gender based violence (GBV)/violence against women (VAW). The five organisations that comprise SAFENET include the Family Support Center, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Christian Care Centre, and the Public Solicitor’s Office.

SAFENET’s, Solomon Sisimia who is also Director of National Community Policing of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, referring to the late Ms Taika’s death said, “The innocent girl should still be alive today if men knew about their responsibility to protect the vulnerable from these evil perpetrators.”

Mr Sisimia said, the killings of the former beauty queen contestant, and also that of 17 year old Lynnette Hilda in East Guadalcanal earlier this year show women and girls continually being beaten, abused and killed by men of this country.

The Ministry and SAFENET are also appalled by a discriminatory cartoon against women, published in the Solomon Star last weekend which states that women are also to be blamed for encouraging crimes such as murder and rape.

Mrs Ethel Sigimanu, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, says the negative image of women which the cartoon portrayed, is an example of the Solomon Star’s irresponsibility and unprofessionalism as a supposedly leading newspaper in the country.

“Publishing the cartoon is a direct slap on the on-going efforts by various government ministries and partners working to end violence against women and girls in the country and the Star owes the women of this country an apology,” Mrs Sigimanu said.

“The media is a powerful tool for influencing and shaping public beliefs, opinions and attitudes and hence the Solomon Star should be more sensitive when reporting on cases of violence against women and girls, especially at this time when family members and friends of the late Patricia Taika and Lynnette Hilda are still grieving their brutal killings.” Mrs Sigimanu said.

Mr Solomon Sisimia also strongly opposed the cartoonist’s messaging style. He said, “The cartoon speaks volumes of the cartoonist and his cohorts’ perception of women. His message is encouraging predators to prey on women whenever they are spotted at the places depicted by the cartoonist.

Members of the Family Support Centre (FSC) also commented saying “the cartoon reaffirms the general perception that it is wrong for women to go out in the dark or be seen in fancy attire drinking beer or spirits. Rather, women are human beings same as men and have the same rights and liberty to enjoy life or do things that the law does not prohibit.”

Both the SAFENET and the Ministry appeal to the Noro community to assist the police to lawfully apprehend the suspects and bring them or him before a court of law in an appropriate time frame. 

“This is a wake-up call for the community. The community must work together to condemn such violent acts and to ensure that they are safe and that the lives of women and girls are treated with respect. It is a community responsibility to keep streets safe. “




Joint programme on Ending Violence against Women and Girls launches in Honiara

Written by Lyn Vaike. Posted in Press Releases

Joint Media Release


Honiara, THURSDAY 11 MARCH 2015

Reprensetatives from the Solomon Islands Government, UN agencies and civil society organisations gathered in Honiara on Wednesday March 11 to celebrate the official launch of the first phase of the UN-Solomon Islands Government Joint Programme on Eliminating Violence against Women and Girls (Joint Programme).

The programme looks to leverage the combined strengths of United Nations agencies and the Solomon Islands Government to create noticeable change for the country’s women and girls, and by extension the wider community, with an overall goal of eliminating violence against women and girls once and for all.

The broader joint programme is a partnership between the Solomon Islands Government and six UN agencies – UN Women, UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, ILO and WHO. This is the first time a joint programme on ending violence against women in Solomon Islands has received a UN Trust Fund grant.

The activities launched this week are jointlyimplemented by the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA), Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), UN Women and UNFPA in partnership with UNDP, other UN Agencies and key stakeholders. They have received a USD600,000 (SBD4,338,000) grant for three years from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women through a joint proposal.

The Joint Programme looks to help strengthen capacity within government and civil society organisations to expand survivor services and primary prevention activities as well as changing the environment in which those services are delivered, making violence less acceptable through social transformation.

Solomon Islands has one of the highest documented rates of violence against women in the world. A Family Health and Safety Study released in 2009 found that 64 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 who have ever been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner. Of those women, 70 per cent never sought help and only 17 per cent sought help from formal services.

Despite the severity and extent of the violence, services for survivors are limited, especially in the provinces. Women often don’t have equal access to resources and opportunities, and those who look to challenge the status quo by speaking out against violence face cultural norms that encourage them to return to abusive partners, as well as formal, often legal, barriers.

The Family Protection Bill, passed by parliament in late 2014, was the first of its kind in Solomon Islands, creating a legal framework that deals with domestic violence as a criminal offence, as well as acknowledging its poisonous effect on society as a whole. The challenge now lies in implementing and enforcing that law, but also in creating an environment that encourages and enables women to have access to the formal justice system, as well as effective survivor services.

UN Women’s Deputy Representative and Officer-in-Charge at the Fiji Multi-Country Office in Suva says violence against women and girls touches on a range of areas including gender inequality, health, safety, families, labour conditions for women and justice, something that has prompted the Solomon Islands Government and the United Nations to take a different approach.

“The prevention of, service provisions around, and consequences of, violence against women and girls cross the boundaries between disciplines such as mental and physical health, policing, justice and education. Not only does it therefore make sense that we all bring our combined experience, networks and expertise together as part of a coordinated approach to eliminating it, it is critical that we do so.

Director and Representative of the UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office, Dr Laurent Zessler cautioned there was no quick fix to entrenched issues like violence against women and its impact on society as a whole.

“Eliminating violence against women and girls relies on ensuring that the positive impacts of any programmes can be sustained over time. This is why the Joint Programme’s work is so important – it focuses on helping to ensure the level of survivor services available is raised to a point that they can meet the demand.”

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs in Solomon Islands, Mrs Ethel Sigimanu says this is a huge milestone and one that has gone down in history as the country’s joint programme on gender.

“To this effect, I am calling on all stakeholders to join together and to work towards ensuring a safe and secure space for women at home, in the work place, and all public spaces. Women and girls must be able to live free from violence in the streets, on public transport and in parks, in and around schools and workplaces, public facilities, or in their own neighborhoods. They must enjoy equal access of opportunities and resources; and exercise their voice in leadership and participation.”

Health Under Secretary Dr Chris Becha spoke at the launch and said that he is a strong believer that men play a crucial role in eliminating gender-based violence.

“Men play a key role on how their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and colleagues will be treated. We may not realise it, but as men we often shape the lives of the wonderful women in our homes, villges, work places and nation through our choices and actions. The women and girls of our country are calling for dignity, respect and opportunity. Will we support them in planning their family? Will we hear their calls to stop the violence? Or will we hide behind old bygone traditions that oppress our women and girls?”

Akiko Suzaki, UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative in the Solomon Islands, also spoke at the event, highlighting that establishing an integrated system is not about replacing what is already happening, or about taking random remedial actions.

“This approach builds on what works, incorporating the existing networks, agencies and multi-agency processes, filling up gaps and removing overlaps and inconsistencies. The integrated system also provides the infrastructure and the process to link and support all parts of the system to work together. That is why the Joint Programme on eliminating violence against women and girl will present opportunities to deliver concrete results and a lasting change in the protection of women and children from gender based violence.”

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Ellie van Baaren                                                                                                               
Regional communications and media specialist                                  
UN Women                                                                                                       
Phone: (+679) 330 1178 ext 125                                                                
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                                


About the UN-Solomon Islands Government Joint Programme on Eliminating Violence against Women and Girls (Joint Programme)

The Joint Programme will run from 2015-2017. The managing agency is UN Women while the administrative agency is UDNP.

The programme is based on three strategies:

· Systems strengthening – Ensuring that commitment is matched with skills and infrastructure to sustain a relevant response over the long term.

· Systems integration – Creating integrated systems, policies and legislation to enhance service delivery.

· Evidence-based programming – Building an evidence base through results-based management, which will then be used to inform programming and  document good practices.

It works with the Solomon Islands Government through: the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs; Ministry of Health and Medical Services; Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development; Royal Solomon Islands Police Force; Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs; Law Reform Commission; and civil society implementing partners.

Participating UN Agencies:

UN Women: The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was created at the July 2010 United Nations General Assembly in order to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. The Fiji Multi-Country Office is based in Suva and covers 14 Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs).

UNFPA: The United Nations Population Fund


Established in 1969, UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. The Pacific Sub-Regional Office is based in Suva and covers 14 PICTs.

UNDP: The United Nations Development Programme

UNDP works to help achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. It helps countries develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results. The UNDP Multi-Country Office based in Suva, Fiji covers 10 countries including Solomon Islands.

UNICEF: The United Nations Children’s Fund

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. With its partners, the organisation works to translate that commitment into practical action, especially for the most disadvantaged children. The Pacific office based in Suva covers 14 PICTs.

WHO: The World Health Organisation

The global health mission of WHO is to support all countries and people in their quest to achieve the highest attainable level of health. The WHO Representative Office in the South Pacific, located in Suva, Fiji is charged with leading the regional response to public health issues on all fronts.

ILO: The International Labour Organisation

The ILO promotes rights at work, encourages decent employment opportunities, enhances social protection and strengthens dialogue on work-related issues.It became the first specialised agency of the UN in 1946 and, through its Suva-based Country Office for Pacific Island Countries, works with 22 Pacific Island countries.



Family Protection Bill 2014 passed in Parliament

Written by Lyn Vaike. Posted in Press Releases


Parliament has passed the Family protection Bill 2014 on Wednesday the 27th of August 2014.

The Bill when it becomes an Act prohibits conducts, or threats of such conduct, committed by a person against another person. This includes physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse. These forms of abuse are further defined in the Bill.

The Bill when becomes an Act will provide for the protection of families from domestic violence and to promote the safety, health and well-being of victims of domestic violence and for related purposes.

The Act has the following objectives:

  • To ensure the safety and protection of all persons who experience or witness domestic violence and
  • To provide, support and redress for all victims of domestic; and
  • To facilitate programs for victims of domestic violence to assist their recovery and ensure that they are able to lead a safe and healthy life; and
  • To facilitate the issue and enforcement of police safety notices and protection orders to stop domestic violence; and
  • To Implement certain principles underlying the Convention of the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and the convention of the rights of the child; and
  • To create offences in relation to domestic violence and provide for increased sentences for persons convicted of such offences where certain aggravating factors are present.

It also defines the types of relationships in which domestic violence can occur. The Bill is a mixture of criminal and civil law. Whilst it criminalizes behaviors relating to domestic violence, it also provides civil remedies to protect victims in ensuring their safety.

The Act recognizes police safety notices, protection orders, assistance to victims of domestic violence, advice, counseling, prevention and awareness of domestic violence and offences.

The Bill defines domestic violence as a conduct committed by a person against another person with whom the offender is in a domestic relationship, or the threat of such conduct, that constitutes any of the following:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse and
  • Economic abuse

The Act further states that a person is in a domestic relationship with another person if;

  • They are or have been family members or
  • They are parents of a child or persons who have or have had parental responsibility together for a child; or
  • They are or were in an engagement, courtship or customary relationship including an actual or perceived intimate sexual relationship of any duration; or
  • One person is a domestic worker in the other person’s household.

The penalty for committing domestic violence is $30,000 or a 3 year imprisonment term or both.

The Bill was passed with no amendments.




SAFENET members trained to strengthen coordination and improve service provision to victims of gender based and domestic violence

Written by Lyn Vaike. Posted in Press Releases


Members of SAFENET received a week-long training program to introduce them to the standard operating procedures of the referral system, and help build their professional capacity to respond to the needs of their clients.

The workshop was the first of its kind to bring together members of SAFENET who are tasked with providing services and attending to the needs of people, mainly women and children, that face situations of violence in their lives.

The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA), Ethel Sigimanu hailed the training as an important milestone in the history of SAFENET since members signed the Memorandum of Understanding early last year to work together in a systematic referral system.

Violence against women and girls is a real concern in this country. Every day in the news media you hear harrowing stories of women and children who suffer at the hands of abusers –often the offender is a close relative of the victim. The work of SAFENET is important to make sure these survivors of violence receive the care and healing that is needed,” she said.

A capacity diagnostics workshop that identified the gaps in the referral system was conducted in November last year. During this participatory workshop, the SAFENET members identified a number of priority areas that need to be addressed, including strengthening coordination within the system, building the capacity and improving communication skills of service providers, as well as training on burnout prevention.

Over thirty participants from the five SAFENET member organizations attended the capacity building workshop. The five organizations that comprise SAFENET include the Family Support Center, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Christian Care Center, and the Public Solicitor’s Office.

The workshop was made possible with support from the World Bank through the Improving Services for Victims of Gender Based Violence project being implemented by MWYCFA. Under this project, MWYCFA recruited a Technical Assistant renowned for her work in the area of gender based violence in other parts of the world, including conflict affected states in Africa. The consultant Kathy Cusack has worked closely with the Gender Based Violence Program Coordinator, Nashley Vozoto, and members of SAFENET over the last four weeks to strengthen their response procedures and referral mechanisms. Ms Cusack delivered the inaugural ‘SAFENET Orientation & Training’ workshop from Monday 11th to Friday 15th August.

Ms Sigimanu encouraged participants of the workshop to “make use of this unique training opportunity to build your capacity, strengthen coordination and improve those services that can make a real difference to the lives of people who are living with fear in dangerous situations”.


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