SEIF PLES clinic received a visit from the United Nations Special Representative (SRSG) on Violence against Children last Thursday.
The delegation of Ms Marta Santos Pais which included member of UNICEF met with the Centre Manager Kim Abbey and staff including nurses and interns.
The visit was prioritized as the SEIF PLES clinic specializes in offering medical care, emergency accommodation and referral to victim/survivors of violence including children.
In Honiara on her two day visit Ms Santos Pais was working to assist the efforts of the Solomon Islands Government to end violence against children.
The delegation was delighted to observe the clinic firsthand, to see how the Solomon Islands Government ministries are making tangible efforts to prevent violence against children and provide access to specialized medical treatment and psychological first aid.
The SRSG was advised how SEIF PLES is the initiative of the RSIPF, Ministry of Police working together with the Ministry of Health and Honiara City Council to deliver as one.
The Centre Manager Kim Abbey advised the delegation that the clinic is still young and will celebrate its first anniversary of 24/7 operation on May 28.
The delegation was interested in the data collected during this time. Ms Abbey advised the delegation that current data indicates a steady uptake of services stating “Over 5000 people have called the 24/7 hotline, nearly 1500 of these people called for information or referral, 228 people have sought emergency accommodation at SEIF PLES and 174 people have sought medical aid during the past year.”
The delegation was interested in learning about the processes of SEIF PLES both the care given to survivors of sexual violence and referrals through the hotline. Upon entering the clinic room Ms Santos Pais let out a huge “Wow.”
She was impressed by the complete set up and also commented that the reception area of the clinic was very child friendly with the wall of toys stating that “it is so important to make children feel comfortable and this space does that”.
Ms Santos Pais spent time hearing from Ms Abbey and CN Rachael Masiha understanding what types of issues the clinic sees amongst children seeking care at SEIF PLES.
The staff advised the delegation how most cases of violence against children are either family violence due to alcohol or family sexual violence.
Ms Abbey described the effect on the children, “by the time they arrive here at SEIF PLES often the children are traumatized which is expressed in being incoherent, staring blankly and clinging to their mothers.”
CN Masiha advised the visiting SRSG how nursing staff like working at the clinic and how SEIF PLES fits in with SAFENET referral network via the 24/7 ‘132’ national hotline.
Staff also described how the clinic has been established according to WHO guidelines and protocols together with specialized training from MSF.
The issue of medical certificates was also discussed and the need to expand the number of both nurses and doctors trained to manage cases of sexual gender-based violence, family violence and child abuse in the Solomon Islands.
CN Masiha advised that the nurses of SEIF PLES still rely on medical doctors to sign off on medical certificates under Solomon Islands Law for cases that intend to be reported to Police and that the clients have access to their own doctor’s medical report.
CN Masiha also advised that the medical examination and report are collected at the same time so as to not re-victimize the client. Regarding data collection, the SRSG was advised that SEIF PLES collects and manages its own data.
Centre Manager Kim Abbey advised the visiting SRSG that the SEIF PLES clinic refer all clients needing counseling services to SAFENET members nearby counseling facility Family Support Centre, and the Christian Care Centre when they require ongoing accommodation.
By Enoch Junior