The European Union has announced their ongoing support towards combating violence against women and children in Papua New Guinea.
The EU announced that they will provide much needed funding to the tune of K3.4 million to support the efforts of ChildFund Papua New Guinea, with City Mission as a key partner, in addressing family and sexual violence.
The funding was formalised on Monday 15 December, 2014, through the signing of an agreement at a ceremony staged at the ChildFund PNG office in Port Moresby.
“This project will significantly improve the services and support available to assist survivors of family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea. It will not only generate greater awareness of the protections available but provide effective avenues for help, with a particular focus on strengthening child protection and promoting the rights of women and children,” said Manish Joshi, ChildFund PNG’s country director.
Violence against women and children is widespread in PNG and considered as the most pressing human rights issue with an estimated two-thirds of women in Papua New Guinea’suffering from violence. This includes sexual and physical violence against children, of which girls are the most vulnerable in society.
Through the European Union’s support of HOPE- a Haus for Protection and Empowerment Project, the EU recognises the need to strengthen services on ground and their capacity to addressing the prevention and response of violence against women and children throughout Papua New Guinea.
ChildFund PNG will work in partnership with the City Mission-run women’s refuse Haus Ruth in Port Moresby to improve services and support available to survivors of violence, both adults and children.
Maria Cruz Cristóbal, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the European Union Delegation, said the launch of the EU-funded project HOPE is timely, following the recent observance of Human Rights Day, which called for more action to address violence against women and children in Papua New Guinea.
“The HOPE project aims to bring a window of hope to many children and women that suffer, or are threatened by, violence and its lasting consequences. Each society must address its own challenges, must build its own solutions; by supporting HOPE, the European Union aims to make a contribution to a goal that only Papua New Guinea’s can achieve,” she said.
Key activities identified include the expanding and upgrading of accommodation facilities that provide safe refuge for victims of violence and abuse, and the provision of child-friendly services and facilities.
Funds will also be invested in the training and supporting of community-based human rights defender groups in rural and urban areas of PNG; these include local advocacy groups, representatives of churches, staff of safe houses, members of the community, and survivors of violence, among other key stakeholders.
This is so, protection, refuge and remedial services are provided.
An outreach team will also be established to improve the coordination of services and to engage government stakeholders and communities.
The project builds on ChildFund PNG’s experiences with working on the rights of children and community outreach since 2005 and the City Mission’s experience with providing refuge since 2003.
ChildFund PNG’s current programs include activities such as the development of a national hotline to assist survivors of family and sexual violence.
Other activities include working with male support groups and male counselling, sexual and reproductive health education and the trialling of early education techniques in respectful relationships.
Previous support by the EU to the City Mission’s Haus Ruth resulted in increased accommodation capacity, staff levels and staff training and the expansion of relation with other service providers, NGO’s and the private sector.