Supporting violence victims

17 February 2014

A project to improve services for family and sexual violence victims in Papua New Guinea has received $3 million in Australian aid funding.

Foreign Minister the Hon. Julie Bishop MP announced the Australian Government support for the Papua New Guinea Family and Sexual Violence Case Management Centre (CMC) during her visit to Port Moresby and Lae.

In her announcement, Ms Bishop said that the CMC "would ensure women and children receive medical support as well as the immediate shelter, legal support and other services they need".

The CMC, a PNG-based non-governmental organisation, will begin operations in Lae later this year.

Two ANU academics have played an integral role in getting the initiative off the ground. Dr Kamalini Lokuge, of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, has been working with the Lae Family Support Centre, which provides medical care to survivors. Her research led her to note the high numbers of women and children who suffered physical and sexual violence, particularly at the hands of family members, and the need for a cross-sectoral response to provide them with lasting solutions.

Together with Professor Stephen Howes, Director of the Development Policy Centre at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, and colleagues in PNG, in particular Ms Ume Wainetti, National Coordinator of the PNG Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee, they developed the CMC project.

"We are involved in this project because we think the issue is important and this response is potentially useful and catalytic," Professor Howes said.

"Good monitoring and evaluation, that is, good research, will be critical.

"We also think that more collaboration between PNG and Australian individuals and institutions is in both countries' interests and will advance the cause of PNG development."

It is hoped that the first CMC in Lae will become a model to improve services across the country. It will undertake three types of activities: provision of case-management services for survivors; coordination with other service providers; and operations- and research-based advocacy.

All funding from the Australian aid program will go toward direct service delivery for survivors in PNG and related support costs. Both the Development Policy Centre and the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health will continue to provide ongoing institutional and monitoring and evaluation support to the project.

Read more in the Spring 2013 edition of ANU Reporter.