THE Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare has strongly encouraged Solomon Islanders to report cases of family or domestic violence to law enforcement agencies as the country now enforces its Family Protection Act.
Parliament passed the Act in 2014 to combat the high rate of family violence in the country and to ensure all homes and communities are peaceful and safe for members of the family.
Solomon Islands is rated fifth in the world and second in the pacific region for its high rate of family violence.
Recent Studies have shown that 2 out of every 3 women or girls have experienced violence from an intimate partner or a male family member.
For so long, occurrences of family violence have been muted for fear of retribution by perpetrators or to some extent cultural beliefs or practices.
Speaking at the formal launching of the Act on Friday in Honiara, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said the State and its partner institutions can only help victims of family violence if cases are reported to relevant authorities.
Sogavare said for far too long, Solomon Islanders have tolerated, excused and justified domestic violence which means that for a lot of people, accepting violence in the family is entrenched in them – resulting in violent crimes going unpunished and perpetrators walking free.
“This is unacceptable and violence in the home must be stopped! Victims must be protected! Perpetrators must be punished,” he said.
“Let us rise up and stand with the Family Protection Act by encouraging our family members and those in our communities to report any incident of abuse against them or a family member”.
“We can carve out and enjoy the best systems in the world but if we are not willing to report cases of abuse, the church, custom or state will not be able to deal with you,” Mr Sogavare said.
The Act makes domestic violence an offence that is punishable by fine or a prison sentence if perpetrators are guilty of unleashing their anger on any member of the family, or abuse a family member through other forms of violence.
The Act also ensures there is adequate protection for affected family members and to facilitate enforcement, and ensure sustainability of such protection over time.
The Prime Minister hoped that implementation of the Family Protection Act will be supported in every way possible and that Solomon Islanders will use the Act to stand for their rights to be assured of a present and a future that is peaceful, secure and prosperous.
Source: GCU Press