The 2nd annual Regional Working Group for the implementation of the Family Protection Act and Domestic Violence (DV) Legislation (RWG) meeting allowed representatives from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to present their challenges and learn from the other 11 participating countries on ways to strengthen the implementation of DV legislation during crises, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters in the region.
“The RWG meeting strengthens our understanding on how other countries are ensuring better coordination and collaboration amongst stakeholders for stronger implementation of the DV laws,” said FSM’s Acting Assistant Secretary for the Social Division of the Department of Health and Social Affairs, Stuard Penias.
“Data collection and monitoring of the implementation of DV legislation is another area that needs to be addressed,” he added.
Despite those challenges, Penias says FSM has been making significant progress with the implementation of DV legislation.
FSM’s DV legislation implementation measures includes; the establishment of a DV counselling centre in Chuuk, establishment of Pohnpei State Standard Operation Procedures (SOP)-Clinical Management of rape/sexual violence and Gender-based violence, training of health officials on Pohnpei SOP, the drafting of FSM’s Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) and establishment of FSM’s Gender Policy.
In addition, the DV legislation implementation also included the drafting of FSM’s Gender Action Plan, the launch of FSM’s Social Protection programs for victims of Domestic Violence and the implementation of Utility subsidy for Household headed by women.
“The FSM government has conducted training for police-both for Kosrae State and Pohnpei State, DV training for judges for Pohnpei State, appointed a gender officer for Pohnpei State, developed FSM national Ending Violence Against Women policy, and social protection support were provided to women’s groups to continue with DV awareness and DV related work in the states,” Penias highlighted.
“In Pohnpei State, there is also ongoing awareness programs on the FPA laws, development of forms for the court and ongoing discussion on the Pohnpei State DV hot line,” he said.
Penias says the national government is currently providing support to Chuuk and Yap States through the process of development and passing of their draft DV Bills.
The three day meeting began on 24 August (23 for Cook Islands) and concluded on 26 August with an outcomes statement which will be used by the Pacific governments to further strengthen the implementation of DV legislation in participating countries.