“A guide will cater for victims’ needs in emergency”

A guideline to assist service providers to cater for the needs of gender-based violence victims is essential, especially in times of emergency.

That is the recommendation of Marieta Ilalio, communication officer for the Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG), at the conclusion of a four-day workshop facilitated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Samoa Red Cross Society (SRCS), in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

“So the goal for the future is to build a structure to guide the works done for those affected, so that nothing is confusing causing more harm—but all have one goal and each service know exactly what to do in those times,” she said.

Ms. Ilalio said the workshop was an eye-opener for her, as she did not know that times of disaster were vulnerable periods for victims. 

“For us as an institution which is a center for violence survivors, this workshop is very important. Before this workshop, I didn’t know this issue existed in Samoa. But now I learn there is a lot of violence that may happen in times of disasters, also learned that this is a result of poor evacuation planning for the people during times of crisis.”

The UNFPA programme facilitator, Rania Abuelhassan, said the workshop programme was rewarding and she was happy with the outcome.

“The training was very successful because the participants have learned a lot of ways to express themselves and conform to the international standards to use on a daily basis so I was so glad with some of their strategies at emergency times.

“They know what they need to consider when they are planning and the response which is very sensitive to the need and the gaps of the system for GBV services and the benefit of survivors,” she added. 

A discussion linking health facilities, the police and the providers of social support with the survivors of violence was also held during the workshop, added Ms. Abuelhassan.

Astrid Koon Wai You from the SRCS, in her own observation of the workshop, said they learnt a lot over the duration of the programme.

“After the four days I could really see that each and every agency, even our own staff and volunteers have learnt so much. Last day was probably the most fruitful as experiences were shared and many real life situations were brought in,” she added.

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