The Solomon Islands government has declared a lockdown period from 6pm Wednesday May 20th to 6am Friday May 22nd, 2020.

The national SAFENET domestic violence referral network says despite good intentions behind the lockdown they are concerned that there may be an increase in domestic violence during this time.

“A sharp increase in cases of domestic violence has been observed in other countries where lockdown measures have been enacted, and there are concerns that this might also occur in Solomon Islands.

“The lockdown might increase tension in families as well as social isolation, and make it difficult for survivors to seek help,” SAFENET said in a prepared statement.

National SAFENET coordinator, Miss Juliana Tutu, states that “during the 36 hours of lockdown, crisis services such as police and hospital are still open but for other gender-based violence support, please call SAFENET Toll free line 132 for assistance.”

Seif Ples centre manager, Falu Maesugea said in April alone 890 genuine callers were recorded, calling to seek information & referrals on domestic violence, rape, and COVID-19.

SAFENET says that domestic violence and gender-based violence are everyone’s responsibility, especially during this challenging time when we need to be working together as a community to support each other.

“One important step that we can all take during the lockdown period, is to call your family, friends and neighbors, and check if they are okay. If you hear anything that makes you concerned that someone is experiencing violence, call the police on 999.

“Those that fear they might experience violence during the lockdown period should work on a safety plan now. If you want help to make a safety plan, call the Family Support Centre on 26999/20619.

“During lockdown, if you are experiencing violence, you can call the police, go to the hospital, or call the #132 hotline. If you are fearful for your safety, you do not need to remain trapped in the home with an abuser – you have the right to ask for help,” SAFENET said in a prepared statement.