February 1, 2016

Planning Minister Says Battle Against Violence ‘Nowhere Near Won’

National Planning Minister has described the country’s alarming rate of violence as ‘scary’.
“There’s an ongoing and huge effort on the way, but it seems that the battle is nowhere near won, it seems to be almost getting worse.”
“Some of the increasing rates of witchcraft-based violence, perpetrated on women who are vulnerable is really affecting the country, both historically and at present and it appears to be getting worse.”
“There’s so much awareness by government and NGOs, but we need to ask ourselves, where is this coming from? And frankly, I don’t understand how brothers and fathers can treat women in this manner – it’s a great concern but we need to find out where it’s coming from,” Minister Abel said.
PNG TV Live acquired staggering results of violence-related crimes inflicted on women from the Family & Sexual Violence Unit, FSVU at Boroko where it receives up to 35 female victims per day.
At that rate, over 11'400 cases are processed in a year, on average.
The spectrum of cases includes females aged between 15 and 55 years of age.
FSVU also released information of dealing with women who hold management positions within the private sector including female politicians.
“It would seem that village people are not the only ones getting affected, but well educated women are also getting affected – I believe this is culturally embedded, it's usually the norm where it is acceptable to inflict pain on women when there’s a problem in the family and we need to remove this behavior where it is acceptable to hit a woman in our society.”
There have been calls for government to fast track the completion of the country’s Gender Based Violence Strategy that was initiated in late 2014 by the Community Development Department.
The Strategy, initiated in late 2014, is also supported by the Family & Sexual Violence Action Committee, the United Nations Development Programme and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, DFAT.
Minister Abel said he was not fully aware of the Policy, but efforts have made by his department through the Strategy for Responsible Sustainable Development, STARS.
“We are supporting the Tribal Foundation through our STARS initiative and our ‘PNG Em Mi Ya’ Campaign, and it’s all about addressing gender based violence, but the implementation of such a national policy against violence would have to be undertaken by the Community Development Department – we get accused of going beyond our mandate but from a National Planning perspective, we also endeavor to address this issue through our STARS initiative,” Minister Abel said.