IWD2018: MILESTONE MOMENT FOR FFA- DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE POLICY (SPEECH)

SPEECH BY FFA DIRECTOR GENERAL JAMES MOVICK 
 
FFA DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE POLICY LAUNCH @ FFA HQ in HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS.
MARCH 8 INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY 2018
 
Salutations.
 
Today is International Women’s Day. 
 
I wish first to recognise and acknowledge the exceptional and sustained contribution that our female workforce in the Forum Fisheries Agency make to the work of the Agency. 
So first let me say a hearty “THANK YOU” to the women and also to the families that are an integral part of our Agency.  
 
Sadly, however, we find not only in the FFA community, but across the Pacific region, that domestic and family violence continue to be a major problem. 
The extent of this problem is quite staggering. It can affect up to 60% of women at some point in their working life. 
We know that most people do not explicitly condone domestic and family violence. 
Too often however, we can turn a blind eye to abuse or choose not to find out what is happening. Sadly, some responses have the effect of blaming the victim. 
Within the FFA we have stated that we will take action to ensure gender equality and eliminate domestic violence. 
Today, we are living up to that promise.
We are putting in place some concrete and meaningful polices that will help address this curse.
I am delighted therefore to officially launch the FFA Domestic and family Violence Policy.  
We want a workplace and a workforce that is free from domestic violence.
We want a workplace that advances gender equality and celebrates diversity in practical and meaningful ways. 
Most of all we want a workplace that is safe for women and one where they can achieve their professional aspirations without the curse of domestic violence holding them back.
 
Let me just summarise that the FFA recognises that domestic violence can consists of many different components including  
• Emotional and verbal abuse.
• Economic and financial abuse. 
• Psychological abuse.
• Physical and sexual abuse.
• Harassment. 
 
It takes courage for those affected by domestic violence to speak up. How colleagues respond the first time a person speaks about being a victim will impact on their willingness to seek help. 
 
As from today, I record that the following actions will apply and be mainstreamed into our FFA Staff Conditions:
 
a) When staff are unsafe in their place of accommodation - the FFA will cover a minimum of two days up-front emergency funding and assist with other overhead costs until the victim is safely accommodated. 
 
b) The FFA will also engage and access local support services to assist.
 
c) The FFA will grant paid leave for any court hearings or police appointments and extend other leave arrangements to cover domestic violence situations. 
 
d) The FFA will provide up-front emergency medical funding to an immediate limit of SBD 1,500. 
 
e) The FFA staff commit to offering sympathetic and practical support to victims and to respect the confidentiality and sensitivity of such circumstances. 
 
f) We will boost our training on domestic violence, gender and diversity issues. 
 
g) Finally, but importantly, any staff member who wilfully engages in physical violence against their partner or children will be considered to have violated their conditions of employment.  They will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include dismissal. 
 
Let me conclude theses brief remarks by saying, let’s all have a work environment where every Man and Woman can be proud of how we work here. 
 
If you are approached by a staff member suffering domestic violence, or suspect this is the case – offer the hand of friendship.
 
Liaise with Corporate Services and let’s get rid of this terrible thing from our workplace.
 
Let’s all say NO to domestic violence! 
 
THANK YOU.