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The Department of Community Development and Religion has conveyed its condolences to the families on the loss of their loved one caused by violence in the family.
Minister Wake Goi said the government deeply condemns and will not tolerate any form of violence perpetrated against women including killing of women in PNG.
“The acts of violence and discrimination against women must stop.
“The incident of violence against women is becoming so serious to the point of grievous bodily harm, torture and death.
“It can be best viewed as pandemic in PNG and in the face of family violence, children are the most traumatised and affected,” Goi said.
He said in view of the serious and dangerous trends in family violence including the emerging trend pertaining to underage marriage, teenage pregnancies, bigamous marriages, parenting and protection of girls and women, the government through the ministry and the department will continue to focus on empowering and protecting families as its core business.
“Families constitute the communities and the country thus family protection and empowerment is centric and vital,” he said.
Secretary Anna Bais said there are laws in place to protect women and families from all forms of violence.
“Abuse in any way, shape or form is illegal.
“Our women and families are already protected by laws that are not properly enforced.
“Over the years, the department introduced the Lukautim Pikinini Act, The Family Protection Act, the National Prevention and Response to Gender Base Violence,” she said.
“PNG has laws to protect women and children against all forms of violence.
“We have the laws; we only need enforcement of the laws.
“Those dealing with enforcement must be held accountable for incompetency.
“We are talking about the lives of our women and children and families for that matter,” she said.
The government through the ministry and the department will continue to address gender based violence/violence against women through a three-pronged approach;
*Build the capacity of GBV secretariat and the implementation of national GBV strategy.
* National men’s forum as a medium enabling men to be solution to prevention of violence against women; and
*Introducing case management and referral system in the districts for clients seeking protection, safe house, counselling and support by evolving and linking the police, courts, counselling service providers, community leaders and families.
Meanwhile, PNG has sufficient criminal laws with tough penalties for men involved in violence against women.
Lae District Court magistrate Tera Dawai said this when responding to the public concerns as to why many wife bashers and killers are walking freely without being convicted by the courts over their actions.
Dawai said the penalties imposed on those convicted of domestic violence depend on the type of offences.
“However, it comes back to how well the police officers are preparing the accused files to be presented before the court,” he said. “Apart from that, those people involved in the process of convicting accused must know how to convince the court with evidences.”
Dawai said court decisions were based on the circumstances of the facts and those wanting justice must understand that the court had the duty to view arguments from both sides before making a fair and informed decision.
He said most times the accused were represented by their lawyers in court and their defense can mitigate decisions to be on their side because of how well the case is handled.
“This is why officers handling such cases must be well prepared and present a strong convincing argument of their case assist the court to make a fair decision,” he said.
“Magistrates and judges are human beings and if you can convince them well with your presentation, then they can make decisions to have the accused punished for their actions.”
Dawai said the accused must go to court in reasonable times and there was time-frame for each process to be completed so the person can appear before the court to prove whether they are guilty or not guilty.
In another development, key findings from the 2016 to 2018 PNG Demographic and Health Survey reveals that 56 per cent of women age 15 to 49 in PNG has experienced physical violence around the age of 15 and 28 per cent have experienced sexual violence.
While 18 per cent of women who have been pregnant have experienced violence during pregnancy.
Researcher and leading anti-violence campaigner Dr Fiona Hukula said according to the survey, it revealed that the higher a woman’s education is, the more likely she is going to face violence.
“That is very scary in this country where we are trying to advocate for women’s lives and for better empowerment,” she said.
According to the survey, in terms of spousal violence, about 63 per cent of ever-married women have experienced spousal physical, sexual, or emotional violence.
“The most common type of spousal violence is physical violence where 54 per cent have experienced it, followed by emotional violence with 51 per cent.
“Twenty-nine per cent of women have experienced spousal sexual violence including injuries due to cuts, bruises, or aches are the most common types of injuries reported.
In terms of help seeking, about 35 per cent of women who have ever experienced physical or sexual violence have sought help, while 13 per cent have never sought help but have told someone about the violence.
Thirty-nine per cent of women who have experienced any type of physical or sexual violence have not sought help or told anyone about the violence.
Papua New Guinea Demographic and Health Survey is a nationally representative survey conducted as a periodic update of the demographic and health situation in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The 2016-18 findings is the first DHS conducted in PNG in collaboration with the worldwide Demographic and Health Surveys Programme, which is a global programme coordinated by ICF, based in Rockville, Maryland, USA.
The survey was implemented by the PNG National Statistical Office.
The 2016-18 PNG DHS final report provides information on basic indicators of fertility, fertility preferences, family planning practices, childhood mortality, maternal and child health, knowledge and awareness of HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and other related health issues.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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