The Authorised Person (AP) Program

    The Authorised Person (AP) Program has greatly impacted the lives of people in some villages on Santo Island. The Ministry of Justice and Community Services owns the program, which has been piloted since 2018 as part of the Vanuatu-Australia Policing and Justice Program (VAPJP).

    Five years after the introduction of the AP program, community life in the villages of Matantas, Fanafo, Palon and Sarete in South Santo has changed dramatically.

    This shows that people have used the program when violence has occurred and that domestic violence has drastically decreased and the mentality of perpetrators has changed significantly.

    In Big Bay, South Santo and Fanafo areas the authorised persons have provided protection to people experiencing domestic violence by issuing restraining orders that are valid for 14 days. For longer orders, the victim must still apply to the Magistrate's Court for a Family Protection Order

    This program is part of the Family Protection Act and although the passing of this Act in Parliament is a major achievement, the initial implementation was a major challenge for Vanuatu due to the remoteness of the villages.

    These Authorised Persons (AP) are empowered to issue temporary protection orders for victims of domestic violence, and can also refer people to policing, justice or health services in town if required.

    These are complex and sensitive roles that place lay people at the forefront of our country’s efforts to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and provide access to justice for women, men, and children.

    In the beginning, there were also great challenges in the remoteness of our various islands, but eventually people understood the role of AP and their benefits.

    Authorised Persons work on a voluntary basis and do not receive a salary for their time.

    The Authorised Persons are dedicated individuals who work to combat domestic violence in their communities.

    In 2008, the government of Vanuatu was the first country in the region to pass comprehensive legislation against domestic violence in the form of a Family Protection Act.

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