Human Rights Watch: PNG 'Failing' On Family Violence

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Subject of new NGO report, new laws ineffective

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, November 2, 2015) – Human Rights Watch says Papua New Guinea is failing to protect victims of family violence.

The country's lack of action is the subject of a report due to be released this week.

The NGO says that despite the government passing family protection laws two years ago little has changed.

The Act gives police more power and sets penalties of up to two years in prison.

But it is yet to be implemented while family violence reportedly occurs in two-thirds of homes.

The Australian director of Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson, says the neglect is widespread.

"What we've seen is that there have been failures to implement that law. So women remain unprotected and subjected to ongoing violence from their husbands even when they have gone to great lengths to get help and justice."

Elaine Pearson.

The report is based on interviews with survivors of violence, police, service providers and experts.

The report documents systemic failures in how the PNG government has responded to domestic violence despite passing a new comprehensive law on family violence.

The parliament in August 2015 launched an inquiry into causes of and solutions for violence against women and children.

A new hotline was set up to refer survivors of family and sexual violence to services.

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