As Papua New Guineans call for tougher action against child rapists and murders, one non-government organization that’s working with victims of gender violence has highlighted the need for reliable data on the rate of violence.
ChildFund Papua New Guinea, started a phone counseling service in 2015 says while there has been some improvement in the work being done, there needs to be more government input.
“There needs to be a more coordinated approach and substantial support given to the issue,” says ChildFund’s Gender advisor, Sally Beadle.
Beadle says ChildFund also shares data collected from the calls it gets though the “1 Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain,” the phone counseling service that is providing an important link between victims of violence and law enforcement.
The number of called received through the call center has doubled in the last 12 months from 2500 to 5000 in 2017. But this is just the tip of a deeply rooted problem in Papua New Guinea society.
“The majority of calls we get are related to intimate partner violence,” says Beadle. “But we do know that children are also affected in the process.”
ChildFund’s work has given a glimpse into the serious problem of gender violence, entrenched in urban and rural communities.
On Monday, the rape and murder of seven-year-old Kavieng girl, Rose Kimberly, triggered an outpouring of grief and anger. Rose Kimberly’s front teeth were broken in the attack and her genitals cut by the rapists.
Her father, Steven Gilnig, yesterday called on the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill to enforce the death penalty.
There have also been strong reactions from Facebook users who are also calling for touch action from police and the courts. A prominent member of the New Ireland community said: “Little Rose’s violated and torn body was laid to rest…the day PNG’s 10th Parliament sat without a woman’s voice. Thousands of girls like her in PNG are at risk of such violence.”