UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office

Uniting the Police Force and Community Representatives in the Fight for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Date: 04/04/2015

The Papua New Guinea Royal Constabulary receives training by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to reduce the prevalence of gender-based violence

Police Officers attending a GBV training in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Picture: UNFPA PNG SUPPLIED Police Officers attending a GBV training in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Picture: UNFPA PNG SUPPLIED

25 November 2014, PORT MORESBY-Gender-based violence (GBV) is endemic in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Women and girls are frequently subjected to several forms of violence and abuse. There is a lack of adequate data to inform policy interventions, and insufficient monitoring to address gaps in the justice system and provide protection to women.

Deep-rooted gender inequality and discriminatory norms and practices reinforce the patriarchal systems in PNG. This situation is further exacerbated by a low rate of female political representation. GBV is a pervasive issue, with the PNG Law Reform Commission reporting in 1992 that two-thirds of women suffer from domestic and gender-based violence during their lifetimes, a number that has arguably risen in recent years.

UNFPA works in close partnership with the Government of PNG, other UN agencies and civil society organizations and networks to address violence against women and girls by strengthening national capacities to gather evidence to guide policy and programme responses and deal with violence against women as a public health issue by making a wide range of services available for victims and survivors.

One particular program run by UNFPA in PNG is gaining traction with the police force throughout the country. UNFPA facilitates GBV training in a number of provinces aimed at educating the police about family and sexual violence and the need for gender sensitising. The workshops are aimed at improving referral mechanisms that promote prevention as well as a safe and dignified response to better address violence against women. As the Regional Training Officer, Senior Sergeant Elsie Taule argues; "to begin to address the attitudes towards violence against women in PNG significant changes need to take place and working with the police force is one way of changing these gender structures."

Following a GBV training for Police Officers held in the Autonomous region of Bougainville last week, Dr. Gilbert Hiawalyer, Deputy Representative of UNFPA PNG reflected: "Gender-based violence is the most concrete form of gender inequality in our country. One women suffering from abuse or domestic violence is one too many. We must continue to take action to change attitudes and behaviours and ensure a better deal for our women now and into the future."