Solomons passes bill to protect victims of domestic violence
Solomon Islands has passed legislation that aims to protect people from domestic violence and severly punish perpertrators of the crime.
The Solomon Islands Parliament has passed a new act aiming to protect people from domestic violence and severely punish perpetrators.
The Family Protection Act is the first of its kind for the country which has the reputation of being the worst in the world for acts of family violence.
A nationwide study in 2007 reported that two out of three women in Solomon Islands will be abused by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
The Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry for Women Youth and Children's Affairs, Ethel Sigimanu, spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the new law.
ETHEL SIGIMANU: Well it's basically to protect people from experiencing or being exposed to domestic violence. So that's the main aim of the bill. But other than that, its also to provide support for victims of domestic violence and to facilitate support programs to support victims when they experience domestic violence. And also to get the institutions such as police to apply the safety notices and protection orders by the Court. But also its to get the health sector and other service providers to also deal with victims of domestic violence in a manner that is acceptable and that is not below minimum standards and also that aligns to standard operating procedures.
KOROI HAWKINS: And what is the significance of this bill for Solomon Islands?
ES: Well the significance of this bill is that for the first time, Solomon Islands Law is addressing domestic violence as an offence, but also as an issue that is cancerous in society. And for the first time Solomon Islands is focusing much more on this issue and looking at ways that can help protect, members of families from domestic violence.
KH: And this bill do you see this as the first step towards getting somewhere? What's the journey that this bill begins?
ES: Well the process that we took, ensured that all sectors of the community was consulted, that the institutions are consulted on how the bill will work. That the stakeholders are consulted on how the bill can be carried out, in terms of its enforcement. And also victims themselves were also consulted. To see how the bill can focus much more appropriately on their needs.
KH: What is the message that this bill brings?
ES: There is no place in Solomon Islands for perpetrators of domestic violence. That society will not tolerate it. That we cannot use any excuse at all to justify family violence. The bill's implementation is very crucial in terms of how effective it will be and how this nation will benefit from the Family Protection Act.
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