Family Support Centre (FSC) stands in solidarity with those who have condemned the recent rape and murder of 8 year old Mary in Kolombangara.
As a key service provider for survivors of domestic violence, rape or sexual abuse, the Family Support Centre knows what this child experienced, her last moments of fear and violence that is faced every day by children around Solomon Islands, the Centre said in a statement over the weekend.
“Loggers and miners are known to perpetrate sexual violence against girl children, sometimes who are prostituted or “married” by their own relatives.
“Children also face gang rape and other forms of sexual violence in their communities, and in their homes.
“ FSC deals with many cases of child rape in Western Province, Isabel, Temotu, Makira, Central Islands and Guadalcanal, where FSC operates,” the Centre said.
This year alone, FSC have seen many brave survivors who have come forward seeking counselling and legal advice after they have experienced sexual violence and child abuse, it stated.
One survivor was as young as 4 years old. Preliminary data from the first quarter of 2021 indicates 40% of sexual abuse survivors coming to FSC are children (aged 0-18 years).
This concurs with the Family Health and Safety Study (SIG, 2009) which found 37% of women experienced sexual abuse before the age of 15 years old, the Centre said.
“While we can help the survivors, we must also call for action against the male perpetrators.
“Violence against women and girls is a behavior that is learned at home, in the community, at school, on the streets and in villages of our country.
“Men must take responsibility for this problem, parents must talk to their sons and nephews, male teachers must talk to their boy students, community leaders must talk to the men and boys in their community.
“Teach boys and men that touching and hurting young girls and boys is unacceptable under any circumstances,” the Centre said.
FSC also calls on the justice sector to review the relevant laws and penalties applied to perpetrators who may cause horrific violence against children with the intent of maximizing penalties for these crimes.
“We also call on judges and magistrates to be aware of gender biases and prejudice that leads to low penalties for sexual violence.
“FSC calls for action by everybody, at all levels, family, community, provincial Government, MWYCFA etc that Sexual violence and rape of children is everybody business to eliminate, we shouldn’t be bystanders.
“We also call on donors and the development sector to invest in expertise, tools and services for children affected by sexual violence, and capacity building for staff working with children, as recommended by the Women’s Experiences of Family Violence Services Report (SIG, 2019).
“Children have access services that are not child friendly and often people /services who do not understand the psychological and trauma of children may expose them to further harm.
“Rather, we must invest in safe spaces so children can get the right support they need so the trauma they experience does not affect their future life chances and well-being,” the Centre said.
The services by FSC are provided due to support of its partners, including SAFENET, Australian Government, and International Women’s Development Agency, UN Women, the Pacific Community (SPC), Child Fund International, Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Solomon Telekom and SWIRE Shipping.
Contact: Family Support Centre Tel: 26999/20629 or call our toll-free line: 699