A collaborative effort to end violence against women and girls is underway as campaigners from Solomon Islands and countries across the world participate in the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
The campaign kicked off in Honiara yesterday, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, with a parade from East Honiara to West Honiara.
Among the 10 groups involved in the parade were the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, the Family Support Centre and UN Women in Solomon Islands.
The parade visited areas identified as ‘hotspots’ including the Henderson and Lungga markets, the old police post at Borderline, the Talise bus stop and the White River market.
During stops at these sites, officers from the National Community Policing Department of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and other stakeholders discussed the Family Protection Act with members of the public.
The Family Protection Act promotes the safety and well-being of victims of domestic violence and provides for the protection of families from domestic violence.
Superintendent Solomon Sisimia, director of the National Community Policing Department, said the police force has been implementing the act since it came into effect last year by issuing safety notices, assisting victims to obtain protection orders, and investigating breaches of safety notices and court orders.
Superintendent Sisimia said he wants the 16 days of activism to encourage women, girls and men who have been victims of gender-based violence to come forward and file a report with their nearest police station.
The official launch of the 16-day campaign took place at the National Museum yesterday afternoon and was followed by a candle lighting ceremony in remembrance of people who died as a result of violence.
The campaign will continue until December 10, which is international Human Rights Day.
The Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs and partners will coordinate activities during the campaign such as radio programs, workshops and other events to raise awareness of gender-based violence.
Both organisations and individuals in the country are taking part in the events and echoing the overarching message about eliminating gender-based violence.
In a statement released yesterday, Police Commissioner Matthew Varley told the men of Solomon Islands to stand up for what is right and call for an end to violence against women and girls. He said men have the power to make a difference.
“Do not watch on silently or tolerate the actions of other men who commit violence,” Mr Varley said. “Do not allow it in your family or your community.”