‘Toughen child welfare system’

National

CHILD protection is a complex issue and can only be addressed through a collective contribution of stakeholders, Save the Children country director Jennifer El-Sibal says.
Speaking at the launching of a report her organisation produced, The Child Protection System in PNG, El-Sibai said only through such collaboration that real changes would be seen.
She said one of the reasons for producing the research was because the protection of children was a complex issue.
“It cuts across formal government and non-government systems, health, education, labour and the justice systems community structures, and through church and religious beliefs and how that is embedded within the lives of all of our community,” she said.
“We recognised that is a product of a remarkable drive and commitment that the Department of Community Development and many in the country have given.
“We do know however, that unacceptably large numbers of children are still being subjected to all forms of violence.
“The impact on children isn’t just one, of the impact of their immediate physical or emotional wellbeing, even though so often that’s what we think of and that’s where the resources are allocated to.
“We also need to be talking about understanding and doing something about the long-term impact through their childhood and into adulthood and be contributing valuable members of this country.
“The voices of children, parents and the communities are telling us that they need support in understanding how to better protect children and where to go for help when those elements of protection and prevention fail.
“The research looks at diverse range of stakeholders that are committed to improve the protection of children in PNG.
“Through more coordination and collaboration and understanding, we can hope to achieve future generations who will no longer tolerate violence against children.”
Australian High Commission councillor gender and sports Susan Ferguson said child protection was everybody’s business and the report echoes it.
She said the report provides comprehensive picture about what’s happening in the protection of children.
“It’s not just the formal sector that supports children, it’s also the informal sector that’s really the important link between those,” she said.
“In PNG, there is a unique culture that’s cemented through the wantok system, incredible social protection system, it’s part of the information sector that provides that kind of glue for the whole community.
“We also need to work with the provinces and districts to make sure that children in rural areas are also able to access protection. This work is very important and in the best interest of children.”

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