Jiwaka police gets training to deal with sorcery violence


PERPETRATORS of sorcery accusation related violence (SARV) in Jiwaka are increasingly likely to face the law after local police received some intensive training.
Thirty-two police officers in Jiwaka were briefed on the latest laws and legal framework regarding SARV crimes at a recent workshop in Minj.
Participants took part in discussions and activities on efficient ways to identify and charge alleged perpetrators in sorcery accusation related violence cases.
Constable Alice Bureng, from Banz Police Station, said they attended to SARV cases on a weekly basis.
“After attending the workshop, I now understand that it is important to attend to minor complaints of SARV such as calling someone a sanguma (sorcerer) before it escalates into arson or murder,” Bureng said.
She added that witnesses in most SARV cases did not give statements or turn up to court in fear of retribution, making prosecution difficult.
A four-year research project launched in late 2016 by the National Research Institute (NRI) identified 452 reported SARV incidents in the past 20 years involving 1443 victims, with an average of 30 people killed each year.
About a quarter of victims were killed or tortured simply because they were family or friends of the alleged “sorcerer”.
Reporting is significantly low and the current figures are much lower than the actual number of incidents and victims.
The SARV police workshop was supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia partnership and was initiated by the Department
of Justice and Attorney-General in partnership with the National Family Sexual Violence Action Committee, the Office of the Public Prosecutor and the National Research Institute.