Solomons: Domestic violence causing women to flee homes

Increasing domestic violence in Solomon Islands is being blamed for the rise in the number of women and children seeking shelter in a care-centre in Honiara.

The Church of Melanesia’s Christian Care Centre’s director, Sister Doreen Awaiasi, says she is having to turn people away as the centre is at full capacity.

Sister Doreen says awareness campaigns against gender-based violence are starting to make headway and the new Family Protection Act makes domestic violence a crime.

She says that she thinks domestic violence is increasing, ” in other places where the services are not available for them, they are not talking.”

“This is only one particular place in Honiara. We also have referrals from all over Solomon Islands, but then the safe home is situated in in Honiara.”

Sister Doreen thinks the Family Protection Act is helping.

“I think we have listened to the voices of our women and children, this is why we have lobbied the government, other Solomon Islands women too, behind pushing the Family Bill so that the parliament would say yes to what we wanted.”

In the 36 years since Independence the have been only 2 female members of Parliament.

An Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka says culture has always been seen as the major barrier for aspiring female politicians.

However, he says perceptions are changing and the biggest challenge for any candidate today is financial.

“I mean if it takes a million dollars to campaign that eliminates a lot of us, me included, we can’t afford that and a lot of women can’t afford that. And so it is cultural but it is also practical things in the campaign process,” he says

Source

News category: Asia Pacific.

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