WHAT: In partnership with Oxfam and Monash University, we conducted research to evaluate the effectiveness of Oxfam’s Safe Families program, an innovative primary prevention intervention in the Solomon Islands, and understand the processes of shifting harmful social norms that drive family and sexual violence in Solomon Islands. Furthermore, the research also aimed to advance our understanding of how to conduct research on violence against women that is ethical, safe and rigorous, in the context of small, geographically-disparate small island communities where violence is relatively normalised.

WHO: The research was conducted in the Solomon Island provinces of Malaita and Temotu. Six communities (three from each province) and two provincial capitals where the Safe Families Program was being implemented took part in the research. Ten local researchers were engaged who were trained in qualitative research techniques and, with guidance and support from EQI and our research partners, conducted interviews and focus group discussions with community members and Oxfam staff. In total, 15 Oxfam Solomon Island staff members and approximately 170 community members participated in the research.

HOW: The research applied a multi-component, qualitative approach, which included:

  • Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with community members

  • Semi-structured interviews with Oxfam Solomon Islands Safe Families staff members

  • Focus group discussions with key stakeholders and community leaders

  • Participatory action research in which community members (local researchers) were engaged to refine research tools, research methodology, and generate evidence from community conversations

  • A thorough review of all monitoring data and technical reports from the Safe Families project

WHY: Although there is emerging evidence that the Safe Families intervention is promising in addressing family violence and sexual violence, there is a need for fine-grained evidence on the most, and least ,effective components of programs to reduce violence in resource-constrained, post-conflict, settings such as Solomon Islands where prevalence of violence is high. This research will generate essential evidence to inform implementation and a future trial of the effectiveness of Safe Families in reducing family and sexual violence in Solomon Islands. 

Our research also helps to expand the evidence from the Pacific region.Currently there is very little rigorous published evidence on the effectiveness of any primary prevention interventions from the Pacific. This is one of the most under-researched regions in the world, despite the fact that the Pacific has some of the highest rates of violence against women globally. Research of this kind is needed to expand the evidence base from this region and therefore advance the work in the Solomon Islands, and influence broader prevention in the Pacific region.