Papua New Guinea’s first national toll-free telephone counseling service – 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain (715 08000) – has received more than 15,000 calls in its third year of operation, more than double the calls received in year two.
The hotline was established by ChildFund, CIMC (FSVAC) and FHI 360 as a service for survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV). It is estimated that over two-thirds of women experience violence in their relationships.
According to the latest hotline report, the highest proportion of calls in the last year came from NCD, Southern Highlands, Hela and Morobe provinces. After the Highlands earthquake in late February, the hotline was mobilised to provide trauma counseling and psychosocial support for people affected by the earthquake, which accounts for high call volumes from these areas.
Over half (56%) of callers were male who called the hotline not as survivors, but mostly as witnesses of gender-based violence or individuals seeking information or relationship advice. A small proportion of male callers identified as perpetrators.
The top presenting issues for callers in the last year were:
- family violence, both physical and emotional, including intimate partner violence (IPV);
- safety and security issues;
- child welfare and child abuse.
The hotline aligns with the PNG Government’s National Strategy to prevent and respond to GBV, with Objective 3 focused on ensuring quality, continuity and sustainability of coordinated responses and service delivery for survivors of GBV.
“Providing telephone counseling and referring survivors of gender based violence to support services over the telephone is a unique service in PNG. The hotline is the first of its kind and has proven to be valuable to people experiencing family and sexual violence,” said Wesh Siku, ChildFund PNG’s senior project officer for 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain.
ChildFund Papua New Guinea Country Director Manish Joshi said: “The hotline has grown from strength to strength. It is remarkable to see how this service has reached across the 22 provinces in just three years despite the challenges.
“Our counsellors have done an outstanding job of helping more than 23,000 people through information, over the phone support and referrals.”
Since its launch three years ago, hotline counsellors have provided:
- information to over 10,000 callers,
- crisis counseling to over 4,000 callers,
- safety planning to over 1,500 callers, and
- suicide intervention to over 50 callers.
Over 7,000 callers have been referred to on-the-ground services, most commonly police, welfare agencies and face-to-face counseling services.