The role of a Family Protection Adviser

*This Story of Change was originally published in the Pacific Women Annual Progress Report 2017–2018. All values are consistent with that reporting period.

Project name: Family Protection Adviser

Project partner: Federated States of Micronesia Department of Health and Social Affairs

Total funding: $310,500

Funding timeframe: 2017–2019

A Family Protection Adviser is working with the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs to support implementation of the Pohnpei Domestic Violence Act 2017 and the Kosrae Family Protection Act 2014, with a focus on strengthening services and collaboration between service providers, advocacy and policy reform.

Ruby Awa, Family Protection Adviser. Photo credit: Pacific Women Support Unit.

The Family Protection Adviser funded by Pacific Women, Ruby Awa, has worked in Kosrae with the Regional Rights Resource Team to provide training to the police and civil society on their responsibilities under the Family Protection Act.

In Pohnpei, she has supported the government to implement the new Domestic Violence Act by helping to establish a statutory Domestic Violence Taskforce and providing technical support for its initial meetings.

‘The Pohnpei Women’s Interest Officer [Lululeen Santos] is coordinating implementation and strengthening of services for family protection as part of her role to support implementation of the Act,’ Ms Awa said. ‘There is a lot of cooperation by the courts, the Office of the Attorney General, the Health Department and the Micronesian Legal Services Corporation.’

Ms Awa supported Ms Santos to facilitate discussions on establishing a referral network of service providers for survivors of violence and the development of a memorandum of understanding for the network.

Working with government colleagues and the Regional Rights Resource Team, Ms Awa has trained police on their roles and responsibilities under Pohnpei’s Domestic Violence Act. She has worked with the Regional Rights Resource Team to deliver training to judicial officers and court staff, and has also trained heath officials in the Behavioural Health Division on gender, human rights and the new Act. This resulted in the drafting of standard operating procedures for first responders to survivors of violence at Pohnpei Hospital.