Solomons Family Protection Act Goes Into Effect

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Minister: ‘Domestic violence is no longer a private matter’

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 8, 2016) – Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs permanent secretary, Ethel Sigamanu says domestic violence is no longer a private family matter.

This came after Parliament passed the Family Protection Act on 27th August 2014, which was gazetted on 14th March 2016.

Speaking to the media yesterday in Honiara, Sigamanu said the commencement of the Act started on 1st April even though it’s not 100% ready.

She said, as time goes on, they will improve the mechanisms, processes and programmes of the Act.

"We cannot delay the commencement of the Act because we will deny the victims of the gender based violence.

"The Act tries to protect the family who are victims of the domestic violence," she said.

Sigamanu, who is also the chairlady of the Advisory Council, said domestic violence is no longer a private business, but a business of the police and state.

Furthermore, she said, Solomon Islands is one of the highest in committing domestic violence in Pacific with 64%.

She said this included women age between 15-49, who were reported being abused in their lifetime.

Lynffer Wini Maltungtung of Family Support Centre said, about 300 plus clients visited them yearly.

However, she said the highest was domestic violence cases with 100 plus clients.

In the meantime, the Act prohibited conducts, or threats of such conduct, committed by a person against another person.

This includes physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse.

These forms of abuse are further defined in the Act.

It also defines the types of relationships in which domestic violence can occur.

The Act is a mixture of criminal and civil law.

Whilst it criminalizes behaviours relating to domestic violence, it also provides civil remedies to protect victims in ensuring their safety.

The penalty for committing domestic violence is $30,000 or a 3 year imprisonment term or both.

The FPA will be launched tomorrow in Honiara.

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