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In order to end gender-based violence in PNG, behaviour change is needed at all levels of society.

June 17, 2020

ChildFund and FSVAC call for zero tolerance on family violence

ChildFund Papua New Guinea and the CIMC-Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC) is calling for a zero tolerance approach to family violence, following the recent attack against athlete Debbie Kaore.

Debbie has shown immense courage and resolve in reporting the violence she experienced from her partner. As a young leader and role model, her commitment to sharing her story publicly is a powerful way to draw attention to what is an endemic issue in PNG. Debbie is an International rugby player and boxer, who also teaches other women how to box, released a video of a violent attack to highlight domestic violence in PNG.

She stated: “I know there are a lot of Papua New Guinean women out there that are going through the same thing, they need to be strong; they need to get out — do what is right for you, your life matters.”

We would like to offer her our sincere support during this very challenging period of her life.

It is encouraging to see the recent statements issued by Prime Minister James Marape the Governor of National Capital District Powes Parkop, PNG Olympic Committee and the Armed Forces condemning violence and calling for behaviour change within PNG.

Strong leadership is vital if we are to see action taken against perpetrators, and a culture of zero tolerance to violence prevail. This must be accompanied by continued government commitment to the resourcing of services which both prevent and respond to violence against women and children.

A multi-sectoral approach is also essential. It is clear that if we are to end GBV in the country, behaviour change is needed at all levels of society, in rural communities, among young people, within the business sector, and at all levels of government.

ChildFund and FSVAC are committed to driving change, and will continue to implement programs and services which address the causes of violence; build the capacity of our legal system, and strengthen the services available to survivors.

CIMC-FSVAC as a peak body focused on enhancing responsive referral pathway through its survivor-centered advocacy, has commended service providers for swift response and assistance to Debbie’s call for help. FSVAC has emphasized on maintaining a survivor-centred approach based on the human rights framework of protecting the dignity and privacy of survivors who suffer as result of gender-based or family and sexual violence.

Debbie is not alone in her experience; it is a terrible tragedy that so many women in PNG continue to experience violence in their homes. Debbie has used her profile before to speak out against gender inequality in PNG and also run boxing classes for women, including many from disadvantaged backgrounds, through a group she founded with her sister called Kamapim Boxing Meri (Creating Female Boxers).

We all have a part to play in building a safer community for the women and children of Papua New Guinea, and in upholding their right to live safe from harm.

Marcia Kalinoe
National Coordinator – CIMC-FSVAC

Bridgette Thorold
Country Director, ChildFund PNG

For anyone experiencing or witnessing family violence, the 1 Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain offers immediate tele-counselling and referral services across the country. Call freephone 7150-8000.