The Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services in coordination with the Ministry of Women Youth Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA), will be holding an awareness on Gender Violence at the Honiara Central Market this morning.This event organised by the Social Welfare Division within the Ministry of Health will focus on creating awareness among the community in Honiara of the recently established Gender Based Violence Helpline.
The event forms part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence that began on the 25th November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - better known as White Ribbon Day) and ends on 10th December (International Human Rights Day).
The Social Welfare Division's Gender Based Violence Program (GBV Program) was established in October 2011. The role of the GBV Program is to work with stakeholders to improve the prevention of and response to sexual and gender based violence.
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 across the country 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 partner
.18% also experience sexual violence by someone other than an intimate partner
.36.9% of girls under the age of 15 have experienced sexual abuse
.Male family members including fathers and step fathers were identified as the most common perpetrators of physical non-partner violence
.Boyfriends, strangers and male acquaintances were identified most common perpetrator of sexual non-partner violence
The Social Welfare Division GBV Program receives funding support from the Australian Government with the purpose of strengthening, coordinating and monitoring the GBV services provided to the people of the Solomon Islands.
Mr Vozoto is also working with the Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA) to implement a project called 'Nokim Daon Vaelens', funded by the British High Commission.
Nokim Daon Vaelens aims to further strengthen impact the GBV Coordinator in advancing gender equality and contributing to the prevention of sexual and gender based violence at the community level as well as working to improve the clinical response for survivors within health facilities.
The Social Welfare GBV Program's recently established GBV helpline uses the toll free number (132) and is operational 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The helpline is available for survivors of sexual and gender based violence to call and receive support over the phone.
The first priority is to ensure the survivor is safe and then refer them to the appropriate care. Survivors may need emotional and physical care, including counseling, treatment of injuries, and medication to prevent sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) and/or pregnancy.
The helpline can refer the survivor to other service providers such as health facilities and the police, public solicitors office, social welfare, Family Support Center and Christian Care Center. A large number of GBV cases are likely to remain unreported.
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.
For more information please contact Nashley Vozoto (NashleyVozoto@moh.gov.sb, 20686, 7499637)
Source: Press Release, Ministry of Health and Medical Services