Since opening its doors last May the Seif Ples Clinic has been offering a place of safety and access to urgent medical care for survivors of violence. The old Police Clinic in front of the Rove Police Club has proven to be a valuable space for the specially trained nurses to provide medical treatment and onward referral to clients.
The centre which operates 24 hours 7 days a week takes calls from the 132 Hotline and receives clients at all hours of the day and night. The goal in every interaction with clients is to offer safety, respect, confidentiality and non-discrimination while creating great health and justice outcomes.
When clients come to the centre they are often withdrawn. It is our job to provide a stable platform from which we can feed survivors, provide fresh clothes including underwear and let them swim. Staff are trained to receive people well which means they let clients decide what they need restoring the sense of control over their lives.
To report or not report
It is still an issue for some people to feel they are able to come forward to seek help for instances of violence that they may have experienced. Seif Ples recognises the right of clients to decide if they would like to report to Police or not. Although there are some instances where that may change in accordance with the Family Protection Act 2014.
The nurses at Seif Ples have received specialist training from Medecin Sans Frontiere in how to manage cases of sexual and family violence. The nurses follow a flowchart of care for sexual violence survivors offering:
- Medical aid
- Psychological first aid
- Emergency Contraception Pill with pregnancy testing
- Treatment for STIs and HIV PEP (facilitated access)
- Vaccinations against hepatitis B and tetanus
Referrals via the SafeNet 132 Hotline
Using the 132 hotline Seif Ples staff work with the Solomon Islands SafeNet GBV network located at Ministry of Health to provide facilitated access to referral pathways. Oftentimes, calls to the hotline will not eventuate in a conversation; we regard these calls as “attempted calls” as we know that long term sufferers of trauma and violence find it difficult to come forward. In its first year hotline staff answered more than 5500 calls from all provinces, both male and female, 1400 of these calls were for information or referral.
As Seif Ples is a crisis centre it does not offer long term assistance except for follow up. Seif Ples staffs refer clients onwards for long term accommodation, counselling, mental health and legal aid.
Our goal when people come seeking our assistance is to make them feel valued. All staff are trained in psychological first aid and are ready to provide assistance whilst they wait to see the nurse or doctor. Clients are encouraged to practice self care by showering (if they are not reporting), taking a change of clothes for them and their pikinins and kaikai before bed.
Reaching out In its first year of operations
Seif Ples staff have made it their mission to reach out to vulnerable groups. In 2014/15 staff ran open days inviting in groups with special needs as an opportunity to educate vulnerable people groups about where they can go to seek help. On the agenda in the coming 12 months it is hoped we can further this work by reaching into womens antenatal groups as part of a project with our partner Honiara City Council to educate women about intimate partner violence (IPV) during this heightened risk time. We are looking to provide resources for the male partners of the women attending these clinics as a prevention and safety strategy to keep families safe.
RSIPF ‘Ring of Care’
With one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world, Seif Ples is doing its best to offer medical services, emergency accommodation and referral via the 24/7 national hotline, through its networks and as part of the greater services of the RSIPF. At the opening of Seif Ples in 2014 the then Acting Commissioner Juanita Matanga described a ‘Ring of Care’. Essentially the ring of care includes:
- Seif Ples – offering the 5 essential services medical aid, hotline and emergency accommodation.
- Sexual Assault Unit – focussed on investigations
- Community Policing and Family Violence Unit – doing an amazing job in getting the word out that family violence no fitim iumi, and working with
- CSSI – rehabilitating one prisoner at a time.
Seif Ples operates within the ring of care to provide a comprehensive response for victim / survivors. Longer term Impact Seif Ples has come a long way in its first year of operations, from an empty building to a fully-fledged clinic operating 24/7, training people across the Solomons in how to manage cases of family and sexual violence. Our mission, to offer a comprehensive first response for victim survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Our vision, to see a future Solomon Islands free from sexual and gender-based violence. Our work in the future involves honing the services we already provide by doing what we do better. This involves creating better systems, tools and resources so staffs are equipped to address issues of gender-based and family violence in an innovative way.