Funding a boost in fight against violence


STAKEHOLDERS fighting to eradicate violence while observing the 20 Days Activism programme received the good news that for the first time gender-based violence and children received an allocation in the national Budget.
This shows Government’s commitment to protecting women and children against all forms of violence.
The funding component from the Government is also an indication that it values the work of all coalition partners in this fight.
The coalition partners have been the driving force behind the enforcement of laws protecting women and children.
And one of the major challenges in efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls in Papua New Guinea – and worldwide – is the funding shortfall.
As a result, resources for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls are severely lacking.
The Government’s support of K10 million will be channeled through the Department of Religion, Youth and Community Development.
Child protection under the Lukautim Pikinini Act was given K10 million.
While we welcome the budget allocation, frameworks such as the sustainable development goals have to be developed. It includes a specific target to end violence against women and girls and offer huge promise, but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes in the lives of women and girls.
It should collaborate with all stakeholders to find a solution.
Another challenge is for those who perpetrate violence against the vulnerable – the elderlies, disabled, women and children – to be prosecuted.
We have some assurance now from the Justice Minister and Attorney-General Davis Steven who says the government has made a commitment to develop the capacities of all district courts so that legislations protecting women and children such as the Lukautim Pikinini Act would be effectively executed.
The minister says we just need to strengthen the enforcement and the capacity of the courts, particularly in the district court, which means capacity building at the district court is important for this Act to be enforced.
The current awareness programme on the gender-based violence, child protection and sorcery is in full throttle; everyone is aware and talking about it.
Unless the people are empowered and transformed, this is an attitude problem constructed and crafted by cultural and traditional practices and beliefs, thus, there is the possibility that this issue will perpetuate. Our only resort is the law and we must ensure that the perpetrators of sexual assault are brought to justice and hope the courts will apply on them the most severe punishment allowed by law.
This is the responsibility of every Papua New Guinean, but the vast majority of us have manifestly failed to fulfil our duty.
All of us are culpable to different degrees, from turning a blind eye to those heinous crimes, not speaking out against them or leaving the problem to be dealt with by parents, teachers, guardians, police, social workers or counsellors who are already overwhelmed.
We all have to do more. We all have to be watchful, protective, and speak out about what we know or observe.
Collaboration is the way forward to addressing this issue.