Police, community representatives and local stakeholders united for a four-day Family Violence Workshop at Poro Village in the Gao/Bugotu region of Isabel Province from 21 to 24 March 2011.

More than 40 participants from communities within the Gao/Bugotu area attended the workshop where they were trained with practical community-based skills to help reduce family violence in their villages.

Provincial Police Commander for Isabel Province, Superintendent Gabriel Manelusi informed the gathering that four Family Violence Workshops have been planned to be conducted around the province.

"The first of such similar workshop was held at Buala in early December 2010 and this is the second one," Superintendent Manelusi explained. "Two more workshops are anticipated to be held later this year to cover the areas around southern and western Isabel."

Superintendent Manelusi said that the workshop intended to provide the community with the basic skills to deal with family violence.

"The family violence workshops aim to educate communities in responding to and preventing family violence," Superintendent Manelusi explained. "Participants are expected to be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to proficiently manage family violence issues in their communities."

Superintendent Manelusi said that if family violence is to be reduced, police would need the support of communities. "One of the objectives of the workshop is to bridge the gap between community, local stakeholders and police so we can work together to better address family violence issues in our communities."

Isabel Provincial Government Women's Coordinator Loretta Soaki said, "In the Solomon Islands two out of three women will experience some form of gender-based violence in their lifetimes."

"If we are serious about developing our nation and empowering our women, we need to take urgent action on family violence," Mrs Loretta said.

The same sentiments were echoed by the Development Coordinator of the Mother's Union in Isabel Province Mrs Vivien Bara said, "Family violence has harmful effects on everyone in the community, particularly our women and children."

"It is crucial that we educate our youth and children about family violence so that the generational cycle of violence does not continue," Mrs Vivien said.

Mrs Helen Marau, a Clinical Nurse Consultant for the Isabel Provincial Health Service, highlighted the importance of working together in partnership to tackle family violence.

"It is vitally important that all stakeholder services work together to establish clear support and referral system to ensure that there is integrated and efficient response to such complex issues as family violence," she said.