14 Authorised Justices around Malaita province have completed training that will enable them to effectively carry out their roles laid out in the Family Protection Act- to issue Interim Protection Orders for survivors of domestic violence in their communities.
The week-long training held recently (13-16 January) is the last of a series of capacity building support that has been provided throughout this project.
Studies show that up to 64% of women and girls in Solomon Islands have experienced violence at least once in their lifetime at the hands of partners or family members. Majority of Pacific Island countries have adopted legislation to address domestic violence, and providing protection orders to assist those that are affected by family violence to ensure their safety.
As part of its regional judicial strengthening programme, the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) has been working with Pacific Island governments to fully implement this legislation to ensure that it provides meaningful and effective rights and remedies for survivors of violence. This work includes the delivery of tailor-made training to justice service providers (magistrates, lawyers and police prosecutors) around the Pacific. The training is part of activities being implemented under the Access to Justice Project.
“The trainings have been useful for the Authorised Justices to have a better understanding on the nature of domestic violence and its negative impact in our communities. We also have practical learning on what we do to receive complaints and make the Interim Protection Orders. Interim Protection Orders can be issued in communities by those of us who are Authorised Justices. A survivor of domestic violence who wishes to obtain such an order needs to report the matter to us right there in our community,” explained Nelson Ne’e of Ngadefiu Village.
Trainer and Programme Manager for the Access to Justice Project, Ms Ruby Awa explained, “the Family Protection Act is a law that sets out ways that Solomon Islanders be protected when they experience violence by members of their family. It is a practical law in that it gives powers to community Authorised Justices who are also chiefs and elders in their communities to issue orders that have the same effect as a court order. This training for the Malaita Authorised Justices contributes to ensure that justice is available and accessible for those who cannot afford to travel to Auki to the Magistrate’s Court, or to other urban centres when they need help.”
The Access to Justice Project is implemented by SPC’s RRRT. The project has supported capacity building trainings for 48 community leaders in Malaita and Guadalcanal since 2017, and 40 community facilitators who raise awareness on the negative impacts of domestic violence; the Family Protection Act; and the role of Authorised Justices in 37 communities in the two provinces. As a result of this project support 27 Interim Protection Orders have been issued in the pilot sites in Guadalcanal and Malaita provinces.
The Access to Justice Pilot Project is a three-year project, co-funded by the Australian Government under its bilateral program with the Solomon Islands and the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. The project is being piloted in Guadalcanal and Malaita Province.
Increasing Access to Justice in the Solomon Islands
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