The Solomon Islands Referral SAFENET parties will be holding a signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Gender Based Violence Referral SAFENET tommorrow.

The Referral SAFENET will formalise a network of existing actors that respond to and provide care for survivors of gender based violence.

The five parties that will compose the Referral SAFENET include the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) including Health Facilities, Integrated Mental Health Services (IMHS) and the Social Welfare Division; the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF); the Public Solicitor’s Office; the Family Support Centre and the Christian Care Centre.

The MOU outlines procedures and clarifies the role of the parties involved in responding to gender based violence incidents. Through implementation of the MOU the network aims to assist survivors by improving access to appropriate support services. The network will also work to support activities for the prevention of gender based violence.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Social Welfare Division’s Gender Based Violence (GBV) Program will chair quarterly meetings of the Referral SAFENET. All parties involved agree to provide services as indicated in individual party’s standard operating procedures and as outlined in MOU, to cooperate with other party members as per the Referral SAFENET procedures, to share information, to maintain confidentiality by ensuring appropriate security measures are in place to protect client information, and to ensure that client consent is sought and recorded on a standard SAFENET referral form. This Agreement shall enter into force on the date that the parties sign (14th March 2013) and the MOU is to be reviewed after 12 months.

Each of the five parties involved play a different and essential role in the network. MHMS provide crucial time-bound clinical care for survivors such as preventing transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, preventing unwanted pregnancies, treating wounds and collecting evidence. Social Welfare fulfill a coordination and protection role, the Police are responsible for protection and investigation, the Public Solicitor’s Office provide legal assistance, Family Support Center offer counseling and Christian Care Center provide shelter and further care.

The issue of sexual and gender based violence in the Solomon Islands needs to be urgently addressed. The high rate of GBV was revealed in the Family Health and Safety Study conducted nationwide in 2009, which produced the following statistics:

64% of women aged 15-49 reported being physical and / or sexually abused during their lifetime.18% of women aged 15-49 reported experiencing physical violence by someone other than an intimate partner18% also experience sexual violence by someone other than an intimate partner36.9% of girls under the age of 15 have experienced sexual abuseMale family members including fathers and step fathers were identified as the most common perpetrators of physical non-partner violenceBoyfriends, strangers and male acquaintances were identified most common perpetrator of sexual non-partner violence

The Referral SAFENET has established a GBV Helpline that uses the toll free number 132 and is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The helpline is available for survivors of gender based violence to call and receive support over the phone. When a survivor takes the courage to come forward for care it is important that they receive the most appropriate care as efficiently and effectively as possible – the referral SAFENET will facilitate all agencies to realise this goal.

This release comes from the SAFENET Management.

For more information please contact Nashley Vozoto Referral SAFENET GBV Program Coordinator (, 20686, 7499637)


Source: Press Release, Social Welfare Division, Ministry of Health and Medical Services