Workshop addresses violence against vulnerable groups

A workshop on strengthening the response of service providers for survivors of gender-based violence, violence against children and vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities concluded on Wednesday.

The two-day workshop started on Tuesday at Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey's Hotel. It focussed on formulating Inter-agency Essential Services Guide (IESG).

It was led by Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD) in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO).

Participants included representatives of government ministries and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). 

The workshop focused on mobilizing and gathering information on available resource from relevant stakeholders of the social, health, law and justice, education and community sectors and ensuring the IESG incorporates a survivor based approach that aligns with Government commitments under international conventions.

ACEO Social Development Division within MWCSD, Louisa Apelu said the guidelines are roadmaps to provide guidance for key service providers.

“An example would be govt. ministries like MOH, MWCSD, Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, Ministry of Justice, these are mainstream service providers who provide a service for those that seek help who have been affected by gender-based violence.

“And not forgetting for NGO’s who are also providing services for survivors of violence and faith-based organistions - in our view there is a critical need of bringing together all the services and provide a proper pathway.

“The guidelines is very significant to improve coordination amongst the services, it’s also to make sure we are giving out a proper service,” said Mrs. Apelu.

The ACEO added that addressing these issues is not new.

“Getting people to have a common ground and goal has been a challenge in itself but getting the services together to actually see that having one formalized guide is one of the best ways for us to improve what we are doing in responding to gender-based violence.

“In saying that the workshop will continue, we have a series of workshops that has been outlined for the next couple of months until we actually develop the guide and after that we will move on to pre-testing the guide to see if it actually works in terms of can the Ministry of Police use it or other NGO’s.

“The guidelines will look at strengthening the processes in directing the survivors and mostly for service delivery staff in reference to the service providers.”

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