Dear Editor – Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) reported Thursday morning that the demand for safe havens for victims of family violence will grow when the Family Protection Act is gazetted in the Solomons next month.
Kim Abbey, the manager of the organization known as Seif Pleis, is quoted as saying that she wants to replicate the Seif Pleis model of safe havens across the country utilizing the facilities of the Ministry of Health in anticipation of the numbers of victims increasing and the Regional Health Centres could accommodate the victims because they would be easy to run and a perfect low resource setting.
Last year, Kim, said about 400 victims were assisted by Seif Pleis.
There are several things that come to mind when thinking about what Kim envisages to be her needs.
Firstly, I haven’t put much thought, as yet, to the penal provisions in the Family Protection Act but I would have thought that the perpetrators of family violence, if convicted, would be either fined, jailed or could be made subject to a restriction order that could offer protection to the victim. I realize that the Western concepts of the impositions of the law on domestic violence cases and outcomes might not necessarily be able to be effectively monitored in the context of the Solomon Islands. In such a situation Kim might very well be right in anticipating the need for shelters, at least until the implications of the penalties that might be imposed on offenders has a long term deterrent influence.
I have proposed a MOU between the MOH and the New Zealand based charitable trust, ‘Take My Hands’ and the MOU is currently under consideration by the SIG and the MOH.
If the MOU is found acceptable and agreed by the parties who will be signatories to it, then the possibility will exist for the shipment of up to 10 x 40ft containers of medical equipment and supplies to be sent, gratis, by the charitable trust per annum to the MOH/NRH, subject to a final agreement on shipping costs now under consideration.
I imagine that if Kim’s proposal is adopted by the MOH to accommodate victims fleeing family violence in Rural Health Centres then items such as beds and bedding will be needed for those centres, albeit hopefully in the short term, and I will be willing to assist in the procurement of such things if requested by the MOH.
I would please request Kim to liaise with me on the situation as it progresses and she can do so by the link on my website – www.solomonislandsinfocus.com – or by writing to me by email at [email protected]