A significant measure by the Solomon Islands Government to eliminate discrimination and violations of the rights of the child is through the passage of the Child and Family Welfare Act 2017 (CFWA). The CFWA 2017 points to the need for collaborative approach between Government agencies, NGOs, faith-based organizations, community elders and families in addressing the welfare and protection issues of a child.
The CFWA 2017 outlines important responsibilities for the Social Welfare Division (SWD) within the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and a key duty is the development of a Child Protection Referral Pathway. The referral pathway maps out inter-agency procedures for reporting, assessment and response to reported cases of children under the age of 18 in need of care and protection. The aim of the referral is to ‘ensure a timely, effective and coordinated response to holistically address the needs of the child and his/her family’.
The CFWA defines children in need of protection as those who:
- have been orphaned, abandoned or are without parental care (including, for example, abandoned children and children without a home);
- live in an unsafe environment which may harm their physical wellbeing and development;
- have been, or are at risk of, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or hazardous or exploitive labour;
- have been displaced, traumatized or separated from their family as a result of an emergency, natural disaster or conflict.
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