19 Apr 2007

Child protection agent heads to Solomon Islands

1:44 pm on 19 April 2007

A child protection specialist is leaving for Solomon Islands this weekend to help children cope with the aftermath of the tsunami and to ensure that they are not abducted.

World Vision New Zealand's Amalia Fawcett will provide psycho-social support to children and communities affected in Gizo, Simbo and Ranongga islands.

Ms Fawcett says that children are incredibly vulnerable because of the fear of another tsunami, aftershocks and family stress at losing their homes.

She will work alongside other relief organisations and Solomons Islands government ministries to develop and implement a child protection programme.

Although there have been no reports of child abduction, Ms Fawcett says one of her roles will be to ensure that people are aware of the dangers.

"Awareness raising among not only the officials but among the families as well so they can get make sure that there children are not wandering off and talking to strangers; working in with the local officials so they make sure the laws they already have in place are abided by and enforced; and then there's alot of advocacy that goes on to make sure that the government and officials are handling it appropriately and have the resources at hand so if they need other agencies to feed in, the agencies will be there to be able to do that."

Amalia Fawcett has previously conducted child protection work in Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake, and in East Timor last September following unrest.