Australia has worked with Vanuatu to build more effective legal institutions and improve police services for over 10 years. The Governments of Vanuatu and Australia established the Vanuatu Policing and Justice Support Program 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 Policing and Justice Support Program
Up to $18.6 million, 2012-2016
The Vanuatu Policing and Justice Support Program integrates Australia’s investments in policing and justice. It provides targeted support for the policing and justice sector, including community services agencies. The policing element is delivered by three Australian Federal Police advisers attached to the Vanuatu Police Force.
The Program aims to achieve the following outcomes:
- Networks within the police, justice and community services agencies influence positive change that will see:
- support to targeted justice sector working groups that align with the Government’s eight cross-cutting issues under the Strategy for the Justice and Community Services Sector, leading to prioritised activity plans for the eight sector priorities
- support for strengthened financial management in the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) and the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MJCS)
- improved case flow through the justice system from the VPF to the Courts.
- Police, justice and community services agencies demonstrate improved service delivery to women, children and youth that will see:
- key advisers to the VPF, the MJCS, the Public Solicitor’s Office (PSO) and the State Prosecutor’s Department (SPD) providing technical advice leading to improved service delivery
- high-level strategic advice to the Commissioner of Police and the VPF Executive
- improved case and data management across the sector, including upgrading systems for the VPF, Courts and the State Law Office
- support to implement the comprehensive capacity development strategy that will provide skills development, support for coaching and workplace instruction, institutional strengthening, and leadership development pathways
- improved practice and systems in the operational and investigative areas of the VPF
- the implementation of the new VPF Professional Standards policy
- improved management of the non-salary operational fund for the VPF.
- Police, justice and community services agencies use evidence to support improved responses to the needs of women, children and youth; and police, justice and community services agencies implement targeted initiatives that deliver better services to women, children and youth that will see:
- a pilot that strengthens women’s pathways to action when experiencing family violence on the island of Malakula
- support to the MJCS Child Desk to develop a national child protection strategy
- the piloting of an effective approach to strengthen community capacity to protect children in selected rural communities
- a case study to look in-depth at the complex factors that influence urban youth risk/ resilience to involvement in crime in urban centres.
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, UNICEF and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. 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.