Official Opening of the Eastern Highlands Family Support Centre
Goroka Base General Hospital, Eastern Highlands Province
Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Remarks by Bronte Moules
Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea
- Hon. Julie Soso-Akeke: Governor, Eastern Highlands Provincial
- Mr David Wong: Chairman, Eastern Highlands Provincial Hospital Board
- Mr John Erico: Deputy Chairman, Family & Sexual Violence Action Committee
- Mr Japalis Kaiok: Manager, Churches Medical Services, Eastern Highlands
- Mr Sampson Walizopa: Community Representative
- Ladies and gentlemen
It is a privilege to join you today at the official opening of the Eastern Highlands Family Support Centre.
Violence against women is an issue that affects all countries and all cultures. It affects families -- and women and men, girls and boys. It affects communities and workplaces.
Papua New Guinea’s domestic violence rates are amongst the worst in the world, and one of the nation’s great challenges for the future. Two in three women have experienced this kind of violence.
However, PNG is not alone. All countries, including Australia, struggle with violence against women. In Australia, one in three women has experienced violence.
Australia is committed to working with PNG in its efforts to end violence against women.
We have a strong focus in our development partnership on the prevention of family and sexual violence, and on access to services for survivors.
We have recently launched our own Family and Sexual Violence policy for staff, recognising that this kind of violence is both an abuse of human rights, and at the same time, can impact on a person’s ability to work to their full capacity.
We have signed an agreement with the Government of Papua New Guinea, to deliver the second phase of the Pacific Women program. We will spend $55million over the next five years, to reduce violence and increase access to support services for survivors of family and sexual violence, as well as create more leadership and economic opportunities for women.
Through the Pacific Women Program, we have already funded the Case Management Centre in Lae. The centre is staffed by case workers who ensure women and children receive medical support as well as immediate shelter, legal support and other services they need. Nearly 400 women and children have so far received help through the Centre.
We have also funded UNDP to work with Government at national and provincial level to strengthen response, coordination and monitoring of FSV. Already about 4 provinces have agreed a paid role to provide coordination of all partners acting to end violence at Provincial level. The Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee in eastern Highlands is a part of this program.
We have provided support to the Women Human Rights Defenders Network through Oxfam, to continue their incredible work rescuing victims of extreme and sorcery related violence and helping them reintegrated into society once they are safe. Nearly 5000 women and children’s lives have been saved through this program.
Through the law and justice program, Australia is working with the PNG police, prosecutors and magistrates to improve legal protections, and support available to survivors of family and sexual violence.
Australia has supported the establishment of fourteen Family and Sexual Violence Units in police stations across PNG. These Units provide support to people to report cases, receiving referrals for counselling or other support such as the issuing of interim protection orders or finding emergency accommodation. Over the past three years well over 20,000 survivors have received help from police in these Units.
We are very pleased to be able to provide funds to build the Family Support Centre here in Goroka. We know that the Family and Sexual Violence Coalition here identified the need for such a centre at the Goroka base Hospital. We are also very pleased that our health program has been able to provide technical support to back up your important work.
The facility will act as a safe haven for survivors of family and sexual violence where they can access medical treatment, and be referred for counselling, legal and other support services.
This centre will compliment the work already undertaken by the Hospital working in partnership with a number of Civil Society organisations offering support services in the province.
I commend the Hospital and leaders within this community who have decided to respond to the increasing prevalence of Family and Sexual Violence.
I know that this facility will provide a confidential, secure setting where survivors of family and sexual violence can access the professional support they need.
Addressing violence in PNG requires collective will to reduce violence and increase access to good quality services. The Province has made great progress towards improved service delivery through this newly constructed Family Support Centre.
Australia is proud to be associated with this initiative.