THE Child and Family Welfare Bill aims to protect and support victims of violence and not to punish offenders.
Acting Director of Social Welfare in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Linda Tupe explained this yesterday, saying offenders of children will be dealt with under the Penal Code.
“The bill focuses on the roles and responsibility of the Social Welfare Division as the main government agency responsible for organising services to strengthen families and protect children,” Mrs Tupe said.
“For example, if a child is abused in the family through incest, we will decide who will look after the child in consultation with the family.
“But we will also be given power under the Bill to get the child out of the family if he or she receives ill treatment,” she added.
She said the National Advisory Committee for Children (NACC) is responsible to oversee the Bill.
NACC consists of Civil Registry, Social Welfare Division, Ministry of Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs, Police, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Save the Children, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Christian Care Centre and Ministry of Education and Human Resources.
Mrs Tupe said UNICEF is the major funder of the project to formulate the bill.
Anika Kingmele, National Child Protection Officer of UNICEF Pacific office in Honiara said the bill is still in process and should be submitted to cabinet for deliberation when the new government comes in after the election.
The bill came about through a nation-wide consultation throughout 2010 and 2011 through series of workshops.
It takes into considerations:
· Existing social welfare and community practices
· International standards and best practices
· Solomon Islands context and culture.
By EDDIE OSIFELO