A four-day workshop on how the judiciary and other stakeholders can effectively deal with family violence in Solomon Islands is underway in Honiara.
Called the “Family Violence and Youth Justice”, the workshop aims to discuss and deal with family violence in the Pacific and Solomon Islands within the constraints of the present law.
It will also consider the proposed Solomon Islands Family Protection Bill 2014 and review the operation and implementation of the Juvenile Act.
Facilitator of the workshop Judge Peter Boshier from New Zealand says the workshop aims to enable the judiciary and relevant stakeholders discuss how they can effectively deal with family violence in the country.
“So the workshop is all about talking through the extent of the problem, the bill ,and what it might do to help. We have heard just from a Judge who has said that he feels that sentencing needs to be tougher and he has issued a challenge to increase sentencing for serious sexual and violent offending.”
The workshop is funded by the New Zealand Government.
Meanwhile, High Court Judge Stephen Pallaras says the Government has failed to provide shelters and professional support for victims of family and sexual violence in Solomon Islands.
Speaking during the Family Violence and Youth Justice workshop today, Judge Pallaras says the Government’s role in this area is crucial but so far its performance has been disgraceful.
He says the Government has failed to provide shelters for women and children seeking refuge from a violent man, or for medical support, or for the psychiatric or psychological counselling to help victims cope with the overwhelming trauma that they have been subjected to.
He says victim support in Solomon Islands does not exist.