25 June 2015
Safe families program aims to put a stop to family violence
Australia has announced its new ‘Safe Families’ program, aimed at addressing family violence in the Solomon Islands. This initiative is part of Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development, a commitment from the Australian government to spend AUD 30 million on gender equality in the Pacific.
The goal of Safe Families is to highlight that family violence is not acceptable behaviour in Solomon Islands. The program will support community level activities that work to improve attitudes and awareness that family violence is not acceptable. These activities will strengthen their impact by linking up to government and non-government stakeholders at the provincial level. Initially the program will be implemented in Malaita and Temotu provinces and aims to expand into other provinces in future.
Responsible for overseeing the development of the program, First Secretary for Gender from the Australian High Commission, Ms Sarah Kernot said “Australia has identified gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as a priority of its aid program in the Solomon Islands.”
“The program builds on the efforts of Solomon Islanders to educate people about the effects of violence on families and the need to deal with ingrained social behaviours which see family violence as acceptable.”
“Safe Families was developed through extensive consultation with women, government, churches and civil society in Solomon Islands and directly aligns with the Solomon Islands government’s policy on eliminating violence against women,” said Ms Kernot.
Safe Families will be implemented by Oxfam Australia in partnership with Solomon Islands National Council of Women, Vois Blong Mere Solomons, International Women’s Development Agency and the Pacific Leadership Program.
Community engagement facilitators in the provinces will work with select communities to identify activities that prevent family violence. Small grants will be awarded to NGOs, churches or other groups to implement prevention and response activities.
Independent monitoring and evaluation experts IOD PARC will continuously monitor the project to find lessons and use these to improve implementation. This learning will be shared with other Pacific Island nations also working to end violence in families.