By Vasinatta Yama – EM TV News, Port Moresby
As of 2016, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary’s (RPNGC) Family and Sexual Violence Unit (FSVU) have dealt with approximately 40,000 cases of family and sexual violence.
However, steps taken to prosecute the perpetrators have failed when the courts, for lack of police evidence, set them free.
To create an environment conducive for women and girls, the RPNGC, in collaboration with its partners, has launched an evaluation report.
The evaluation report raises the issue of delays in cases being dealt with and fewer arrests, and a lack of consistent service delivery.
Communities saw family and sexual violence in the past as being normal, and an accepted part of PNG culture.
Prior to the introduction of RPNGC’s FSVU, many victims were not served at police station counters as it was considered a domestic or family issue.
Now that the FSVU is introduced, reports show that the police’s mindset is changing and help is being given to victims.
RPNGC has been working with Australian Aid and the PNG Australia Law and Justice Program over the last five years to address family and sexual violence in the country.
Currently, 11 offices have been set up in the country to provide services such as counseling for victims.
So far over 1,000 people called FSVU and received phone counseling only.
FSV Action Committees said over the last six years, language is still a barrier for victims and FSV offices to communicate, and transportation and a lack of available information are also problems that prevent victims from receiving services.
Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to PNG, Bronte Moules, confirmed that Australia would continue to support PNG in addressing family and sexual violence.