Denga speaking on Radio Australia's Pacific Beat, with Richard Ewart.
Denga speaking on Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat, with Richard Ewart.

Denga Ilave, Femili PNG Operations Manager

While the issue of family and sexual violence (FSV) affects many families, communities and our society, it is also important to recognise the efforts of many individuals, institutions, churches, government departments, local and international organisations who are fighting against family and sexual violence.

Femili PNG is one of the many organisations that provide services to FSV survivors in Lae. And we are grateful to work with stakeholders such as the Family Support Centre at Angau Hospital, the Family Sexual Violence Unit, Provincial Police, Sexual Offences Squad, police prosecutors, the Courts, Welfare, safe houses, other NGOs and faith-based organisations. Together we are providing services to many who are experiencing family and sexual violence.

Denga with Beverley O'Connor on the set of ABC's The World.
Denga with Beverley O’Connor on the set of ABC’s The World.

My trip to Australia, from 15-23 May 2016, was to raise the profile of Femili PNG and also to highlight that there are many stakeholders now working together to address the issue of family sexual violence in PNG. The trip started off with Stephen Howes, Femili PNG Chair, and myself speaking at the Australia-PNG Business Forum in Cairns. Following the presentation, representatives of businesses said they were impressed with the work Femili PNG was doing and said they were committed to participate in addressing family and sexual violence issues in PNG.

The trip continued to Melbourne, where I did interviews with ABC TV and radio about the work of Femili PNG. I also delivered a presentation at the Oxfam office in Melbourne, and those who attended were grateful to hear about the work Femili PNG was doing in partnership with stakeholders.

Panel at Australian National University.
Panel at Australian National University.

In Canberra, I participated in a panel at the Development Policy Centre, ANU, with the Secretary for Community Development Anna Solomon and Kymberley Kepore, CEO of the Oil Search Foundation, which was then followed by another positive meeting with officers from DFAT.

Yet another interesting and successful panel was organised at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, where many attended to hear about emerging solutions to the FSV issue. While in Sydney we were able to meet with Mundango Abroad and talk about the work of Femili PNG, and they were happy to continue their support.

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At the Lowy Institute, Sydney.

The most beautiful part of the trip was visiting the Avondale Adventist College in rural Cooronbong, where I spoke to some students, lecturers and their families. They asked about the present gaps in the service provision for FSV. I said, well, there are still many gaps in the services as the issue of family sexual violence is complex. But in my experience, there is a great need for a safe house that can cater for women for several weeks or months while their cases are managed. The other service requested by many survivors was couples counselling. Brad Watson, a senior lecturer at the college, said he would raise this with leaders of the church and others.

Given the support that is needed, champions in the fight against family sexual violence in PNG will continue to reach out to many who are experiencing family and sexual violence. It was very positive to see the strong interest in Australia in this issue, among businesses with PNG connections, NGOs, DFAT, faith leaders, academics and the media.

With Alex Sloane of ABC 666 in Canberra.
With Alex Sloane of ABC 666 in Canberra.

Australian media appearances

» There is hope for PNG and Australia’s shared domestic violence challenge, op-ed by Denga Ilave published on ABC’s The Drum, 20 May 2016.
» Femili PNG Lae centre providing vital support for survivors of family violence, Radio Australia, 18 May 2016.
» UN urges action on family violence in PNG, The World, ABC News 24, 18 May 2016.
» Interview with Alex Sloane – MP3 file, ABC 666 Afternoons, 19 May 2016.
» Programs making a difference to PNG’s high rates of family violence, The World Today – Radio National, 23 May 2016.
» PNG needs to train more counsellors, Australian Associated Press, 1 June 2016.
» Tackling domestic violence in Papua New Guinea, interview with 2ser radio, 31 May 2016.

Public events

» New approaches to tackling gender-based violence in PNG – livestream catch up, public panel at ANU.
» New approaches to tackling gender-based violence in PNG – podcast, public panel at ANU.
» New approaches to tackling gender-based violence in PNG – podcast, public panel at the Lowy Institute.
» Gender-based violence in PNG: new approaches, new promise– blog summary of panel discussions on Devpolicy Blog.
» Making ground in the fight against gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea– blog summary of panel discussions on Lowy Interpreter.

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