Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs Ethel Sigimanu says the government and the people of Solomon Islands need to do more to achieve gender equality in the country.
Ms Sigimanu was speaking at the launching of a new Save the Children report recently that revealed the alarming rates of acceptance of gender-based violence, risky sexual behaviours and harmful alcohol use among young people in the country.
She said despite the strides the government have taken with measures such as the national policy on eliminating violence against women and the introduction of the national Family Protection Act, more needs to be done to transform attitudes around gender equality.
“We have heard this in the stories shared by women through the Family Health and Safety Study, we hear this from service providers who see women fleeing violence like Family Support Centre and the Police, and we see this in the courts where women seek protection.
“Today in Solomon Islands men by far are the greater users of alcohol and other substances, and women and children in many ways are bearing the consequences of the resulting social dysfunction,” Ms Sigimanu said.
She said whilst there has been significant research into violence against women and children in the Solomon Islands, this new research by Save the Children is the first of its kind to look at the alcohol and the substance abuse specifically in young people.
“This piece of research is an important part of the evidence base jigsaw puzzle, which I am sure will be utilized and transformed into innovative approaches to address alcohol abuse and violence against women and children,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary said there is significant anecdotal evidence, but no scientific research has been undertaken in the Solomon Islands about the links between alcohol abuse in young people and violence against women-until now.