Australia has worked with Vanuatu to build more effective legal institutions and improve police services for over 17 years. The Governments of Vanuatu and Australia established an integrated policing and justice program of support in 2014 to strengthen the sector as a whole and build the capacity of agencies in the formal and informal justice sectors. Australia is also a partner of the Vanuatu Women’s Centre (VWC), which provides legal assistance and counseling services to survivors of violence.
Vanuatu Australia Policing and Justice Program
Up to $24 million, 2017-2020
The Vanuatu Australia Policing and Justice Program integrates Australia’s investments in policing and justice and builds on previous program of support. It provides targeted support for the policing and justice sector, including community services agencies. The program is implemented jointly by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), providing expert policing advice to the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF), and a managing contractor. The program works closely and collaboratively under the direction and oversight of DFAT.
The Program aims to achieve the following outcomes:
- The VPF, justice and community services agencies and targeted non-state actors demonstrate strengthened service delivery capacity, particularly in their handling of cases involving women, children and youth that will see:
- strengthening of policing, justice and community services institutions through targeted skills development including through key advisers to the VPF, the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MJCS), the Public Solicitor’s Office (PSO), the Office of the Public Prosecutor (OPP), the State Prosecutor’s Department (SPD), and the Courts, leading to improved service delivery
- women’s professional participation enhanced in the sector
- sector agencies improving their evidence and knowledge base and are using this to inform decision making about service delivery
- support for strengthened human and financial management in key sector agencies, in particular the VPF
- coordinated reductions in delay of cases in the state policing, justice and community services system.
- Women, children and youth are increasingly able to access state policing, justice and community services in targeted locations that will see:
- sector agencies delivering more services, including expanding the reach of services to targeted provincial locations
- targeted communities better understand the policing, justice and community services system and how to use it
- targeted non-state actors better understand the law and human rights and are acting more consistently with these standards as community conflict managers.
- The VPF, justice and community services agencies and targeted non-state actors demonstrate improved quality of service delivery to women children and youth in targeted locations that will see:
- sector agencies and targeted non-state actors responding more effectively to cases involving violence against women and children
- sector agencies and targeted communities working together to respond more effectively to juvenile justice issues
- sector agencies responding more effectively to the needs of persons with disabilities.
Vanuatu Women's Centre
Up to $6 million, 2016-2021
In 20 years, the Vanuatu Women’s Centre (VWC) has grown from a small Port Vila-based organisation to a highly valued and respected national organisation, with support through a long-term partnership with Australia. In addition to its Port Vila premises, the Women’s Centre has five provincial branches and 42 island-based committees. While counseling and support to women and children at risk of domestic violence are central to its services, the centre now has a much broader mandate that covers human rights, legal and policy advocacy, community education and research.
Key outcomes sought are:
- up to 30,000 women and children in Vanuatu supported with counseling, legal assistance, emergency accommodation and/or referral to other services
- education and awareness-raising for 80,000 people leading to broader acceptance that violence against women and children violates human rights and changes gender norms, attitudes and behaviour
- legal advocacy, lobbying and human rights training for 650 male advocates, committee members and law and justice officials, leading to reduced discrimination and improved gender equality
- Vanuatu Women’s Centre operating from a permanent, purpose-designed premises in Port Vila.
Wan Smolbag Community Partnership
Up to $11.8 million, 2014-2017
Australia provides funding to Wan Smolbag, a Vanuatu civil society organisation that runs three youth centres located in Port Vila, Luganville (Santo), and Haulua (Pentecost). The organisation has grown from a theatre group of 15 voluntary actors in 1989 to a prominent civil society organisation delivering a range of activities on social issues, such as governance, climate change and health. Wan Smolbag’s work aligns with the objectives and priorities of the Australia-Vanuatu Aid Partnership Arrangement 2016-2019 with its work on community safety and resilience and improving access to essential health services. They have a strong focus on young people and on the inclusion of people living with a disability. Wan Smolbag facilities on the outskirts of Port Vila also serve as an official evacuation centre for the surrounding peri-urban population in times of a disaster.
The Wan Smolbag Community Partnership is jointly financed with the New Zealand Government. Additional funding for core costs and activities is also provided by other donors, including Oxfam and World Vision. Key outcomes of the partnership are:
- primary health services to peri-urban poor
- key social improvement messages delivered through the support of Wan Smolbag’s theatre and television drama programs.