Vanuatu church leaders committed to ending domestic violence

Nearly 100 chiefs and church ministers in Vanuatu have committed to ending domestic violence within their own families.

They have recently taken part in one of three Channels of Hope workshops organised by World Vision.

The workshops were designed to provide skills to leaders of the different sectors of the society to help them in the work to reduce domestic violence in homes.

The main facilitator is professional New Zealand counselor Kara Duncan-Hewitt. She was assisted by Channels of Hope programme manager pastor Vihama Rakau and the staff of World Vision Vanuatu (WVV).

Rakau said it was the first time church leaders had addressed violence as an issue in Vanuatu’s culture.

He said the leaders wanted to make a change in their own homes before trying to counsel other families.

“We had stories from participants who said when they were thinking of violence they were thinking of violence as something outside of them.”

“But now they realise that they need to begin at home in their relationship to their spouse and as well as in how they treat their children”

“So, yes that’s a very powerful approach in our counselling workshop because change should begin with us,” said Rakau.

Development facilitator of Channels of Hope, Sharyn Wobur, says the first such workshop of its kind was held in May this year. It was attended by 35 participants, mainly faith-based leaders and their spouses and health workers.

She said the second was held at the beginning of July. It was attended also by 35 participants from the chiefs, Sanma Province, Vanuatu Family Health Association, Save the Children and four police officers from the morality and family violence units.

Wobur says one positive outcome from the workshop was that all of the different partners on Santo and Malo recognised the importance of working together to tackle the issue of family violence.

Rakau says follow up workshops will be held in September this year and in February 2017.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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