RAMSI commend gov’t on family protection act

THE Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) congratulates the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and parliamentarians on the gazetting of the Family Protection Act 2014 on 1 April and its official launch tomorrow (8 April).

“The Government and range of stakeholders, including the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), have worked hard in the lead up to the Act’s gazettal to ensure that the police and courts understand and can enforce this important piece of legislation so that survivors of family and gender-based violence are protected from further abuse,” said Quinton Devlin, RAMSI Special Coordinator.

“Unfortunately, family and gender-based violence has been considered a private matter in the past, but now with the introduction of the Family Protection Act, it is everyone’s business,” he said.

“The Act is designed to keep everybody safe – women, children and men. People need to understand physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse in the home is a crime with heavy penalties, including potentially imprisonment,” said Mr Devlin.

He urged the government and police to continue to educate and work with communities to ensure survivors and witnesses of family violence bring the cases to the attention of the RSIPF.

The RAMSI Special Coordinator added: “The RSIPF will only be able to help reduce the incidences of family violence in this country if the community, especially chiefs and other leaders, work with the police to address this issue, which is tearing apart families and communities in Solomon Islands.”

“RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF) supported the training of RSIPF trainers so that all police officers can implement the Act, and will continue to support RSIPF community policing efforts designed to protect survivors of family violence,” said Mr Devlin.

The National Parliament passed the Family Protection Act in 2014 in response to endemic levels of family violence in Solomon Islands.  Studies reveal that approximately two in every three women and girls in Solomon Islands have suffered from domestic violence.

Source: RAMSI Public Affairs & Media