RSIPF boss says family violence unacceptable

Solomon Islands is achieving and making progress towards tackling the issue of family or gender based violence in the communities but what’s needed is a change in the mindset of people to start thinking seriously about the issue.

In an interview for the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) coordinated radio program Talking Truth to be broadcast on SIBC on 27 November, Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Commissioner, Frank Prendergast said the implementation of the Family Protection Act 2014, which came into force April this year is “work in progress” despite the teething problems encountered by the stakeholders in its implementation.

“The implementation of the Act is not perfect yet but its improving and I am satisfied with the progress so far. It’s a complicated piece of legislation but the RSIPF and the other stakeholders consider it as a priority piece of legislation,” said Commissioner Prendergast.

He revealed: “In 2015 less than 1,000 reports of gender based violence were recorded but for this year up to October about 1,074 reports have been received.”

In his message to all people in the country as Solomon Islands joins the international 16-day campaign for the Elimination of Violence against Women, RSIPF Commissioner Prendergast said: “Despite the progress being made what we really need is for all the people in Solomon Islands to start thinking seriously about the issue of gender based violence.”

“People must change the way they think about it. Gender based violence or violence in the home has to become unacceptable in our communities.  RSIPF is committed to doing its best on this issue and we will continue to strive to improve but we are asking the communities to work with us,” said Mr Prendergast.

He stated: “What is required here is a change of mind set by everyone. For too many people family violence is not something they are terribly concerned about or spend a lot of time thinking about.  But it’s happening in our communities and we know from the reports that the police get every day, it’s happening in every community.”

“If we don’t work together to stop it, we will continue to have discussions about the issue but nothing will happen,” said RSIPF Commissioner Prendergast.

RSIPF, like other stakeholders, is conducting community outreach meetings on gender based violence during the 16-day campaign in Honiara and in the provinces.