“I’M proud to be here today as a White Ribbon Ambassador who is deeply concerned about eliminating violence against women. This is a key priority for Australia both domestically and in our international and development efforts.”
These were the Australian High Commissioner’s opening remarks as he presented his speech to invited guests, during the official opening ceremony for the redevelopment and expansion of Seif Ples, yesterday.
The refurbishment of Seif Ples is a flagship project of Australia’s justice program, which will ensure there is increased safe space available to survivors of violence.
Since the completion of the expansion earlier this year, there has been an increase in the number of survivors of violence who have since sought support from Seif Ples.
Last month alone, Seif Ples recorded the highest number of sexual abuse cases within a month, as well as the highest number of clients seeking accommodation.
Although the rates are alarming, this reflects the increase in awareness and reporting in the fight in ending violence against women, girls, children and vulnerable groups.
Seif Ples was established in 2014 as per the recommendations based on the Solomon Islands Family Health and Safety Study (2010) from the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, which documented that 64% of women from the Solomon Islands report experiencing gender based violence at least once in their life time.
Eliminating violence against women requires co-ordinated, multi-sectoral approaches which have women’s safety at their core, combined with changes within communities.
It also requires effective responses to violence which means ensuring women survivors of violence have access to emergency shelter, medical assistance, legal aid and justice services.
The ceremony was attended by Mactus Forau, Supervising Permanent Secretary Ministry of Police National Security and Correctional Services and Simpson Pogeava, RSIPF Assistant Commissioner National Capital.
The redevelopment was funded by Australia through the Solomon Islands Justice Program and was constructed by Fletchers Construction.