No country in the world has got it right when it comes to gender equality or completely erasing violence against women says Australia Chancellor Roclle White.
Speaking yesterday as a key note speaker during the launching of the new toolkit on how to design projects to end violence against women and girls, she said, violence against women and girls is a global pandemic.
“Prevalence surveys in the Pacific have shown that the incidence of violence against women is among the worst in the world,” she said.
She said, as many as two in three women have experienced physical and or sexual violence by their intimate partner or a family member.
She said, even Australia have terrible statistics when it comes to violence against women where she revealed that a third of Australian women over the age of 15 have experienced some form of physical assault where one in five Australian women has experienced sexual assault.
“Every week in my country a woman is killed by a partner or a former partner, so we have a shared problem,” she said.
Violence has far-reaching consequences which include death, injury; medical costs and lost employment are just the tip of the iceberg, she added.
The lives and livelihoods of women and girls, their families, their communities and their societies are impacted in incalculable ways.
Far too often, crimes go unpunished and perpetrators walk free where she said, no country, no culture, and no woman, young or old is immune to the global epidemic.
Thanks that change is occurring, including here in the Solomon Islands where she said, governments are advancing legislation, policies and national action plans to end violence against women.
She said NGOs, including many of which Australia works with here in Solomon Islands and in the region, are supporting women and families affected by violence.
While this is seen as a progress, she stressed out that Pacific Island governments and civil society organizations still find it difficult to access enough funding and resources and need more support and capacity to design and implement projects end violence against women.
The toolkit was produced through the fund in response to requests for user-friendly materials and resources to help design and implement successful projects to tackle violence against women across the Pacific.
Australia has supported UN Women’s Pacific Regional Ending Violence against Women Facility Fund known as the Pacific Fund since its inception in 2009.
More than AUD$7M has been channelled to the fund by Australia to provide grants and capacity-building support programs to end violence against women and girls in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru and Kiribati.
By Biriau Wilson Saeni