Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Pikinini Defenders Alliance calls for 300 new child protection officers in PNG

ChildFund has joined other child-focused aid agencies to form an alliance aimed at increasing the protection available to vulnerable children in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The Pikinini Defenders Alliance, launched in September 2019, is a network of organisations committed to mobilising support, advocating, and raising awareness to stop violence against children in Papua New Guinea.

It is calling on the PNG Government to commit to greater and more sustainable investments to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against children in PNG, including 300 new child protection officers to boost the country’s under-resourced child protection workforce.

Alarmingly, it is estimated that 75% of children and young people in PNG experience violence during their childhood.

At ChildFund, we believe that every child has the right to be nurtured, protected and experience a childhood free from violence.

Evidence shows that children who are victims of abuse, or who have witnessed violence, often suffer severe psychological trauma which can have devastating consequences on their physical, social and emotional health and development.

The Pikinini Defenders Alliance has acknowledged initatives by the PNG Government to end violence against children, including the passage of the 2015 Lukaitim Pikinini Act.

It is hoped the Act will result in significant improvements to the protection and promotion of the rights of all children in PNG.

However, the Alliance has stated that implementation of the Act must be a government priority, and needs to be adequately resourced if real and sustainable changes are to be achieved.

At the launch of the Act, the PNG Government committed to the recruitment, training and deployment of 300 new child protection officers and volunteers.

The Pikinini Defenders Alliance is now calling on the PNG Government to uphold this promise by Universal Children’s Day on 20 November 2019, and encourages the training of teachers, health workers and faith leaders across all local-level government in PNG.

The Alliance states: “Every little Papua New Guinean has the right to a life without violence.

“It is time to make child protection our first priority. Children in PNG need more Pikinini Defenders.”

Members of the Pikinini Defenders Alliance, including ChildFund, will continue to work with government stakeholders, communities, young people and children towards a PNG that is free of violence against children.

Australians are urged to support the Pikinini Defenders Alliance by signing a petition which will be delivered to Papua New Guinea’s High Commissioner to Australia.

The Pikinini Defenders Alliance members include Cheshire Disability Services PNG, ChildFund, Equal Playing Field, PNG Council of Churches, PNG Tribal Foundation, Save the Children, UNICEF, and World Vision.

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