BY AGNES MENANOPO
SAVE the Children office in Honiara has recently launched the ’Unseen and Unsafe: Underinvestment in Ending Violence Against Children in the Pacific and Timor-Leste’ report.
The program to mark the official launching of the comprehensive report was held at the Heritage Park Hotel on August 14.
The report reveals shocking levels of physical, emotional and sexual violence, as well as neglect faced by many children living in the Pacific and Timor-Leste and the critically low amount of funding being invested to address it.
“Children who face violence and abuse often suffer from serious physical injuries, unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, mental trauma, and even death.
“Physically, children are also more susceptible to injury than adults as their bodies are still developing. Violence can lead to stunted brain development which affects their concentration, language development and ability to read and write,” according to the report.
Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Women Youth, Children, and Family Affairs, Dr. Cedric Alependava said violence against children, as we know is one form of abuse that is severe and has detrimental effects on the life and development of a child.
“The way I see it is that we are been confronted with a ‘double burden’ problem in the country and in the Pacific.
“The Solomon Islands has policies, regulations, and laws governing us to try and reduce violence against girls and women, but sad to say there is less emphasis on VAC, even in our current policy there is less coverage of Child security.
“As such, we need to step up and review our Children’s policy in collaboration with Child’s Right and SDG 16.2. And maybe review the Family Protection Act (FPA) 2017 and Child and Family Welfare Act (CFWA) 2010 as well.”
Alependava said that the Solomon Islands is a youthful nation, and children make up to 46% of the population.
“This composition shows children dominate the bigger portion of our population, and thus given the future they will live and inherit, we ought to invest in them early to enable them to be productive leaders and citizens,” he said.
The event was attended by Save the Children, Plan International, World Vision, the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA), the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and church representatives.