POLICE Commissioner David Manning has ordered an investigation into the police handling of Jenelyn Kennedy’s case leading up to her death.
Manning said it appeared from initial reports that Jenelyn was allegedly living in an abusive relationship with her partner Bosip Kaiwi for over two years.
“What did the authorities, especially police do to protect her? Why weren’t interventions made at various stages of this abusive relationship? Where were family members when Janelyn was tortured during the last five days of her life?” he said.
“These are questions that need to be answered. Weaknesses within our systems, be it with the police, legal, welfare or courts need to be identified now and changed or removed to ensure that our women are better protected from such violence,” Manning said.
Manning was provided a brief yesterday by the Family and Sexual Violence Unit (FSVU) of what transpired in the three months prior to Jenelyn’s death:
Families of victims told to unite
By REBECCA KUKU and BOURA GORUKILA
THE family of the late Jenelyn Kennedy has urged the families of other young women killed by their partners to join hands in demanding “action” from the Government.
Family spokeswoman Elizabeth Loco Bradshaw called on the Laufa family, Gavera family and others who had lost their loved ones through gender-based violence to form a united front.
“Enough of statements condemning such violent actions. Let us all stand together and demand for action now,” she said.
“We have prayed, we have condemned, we have petitioned and we have called for the violence to be stopped. Now, we must demand for action so that we can get justice not only for Jenelyn but for all the other past cases too.”
Meanwhile, a peaceful march from the Unagi Oval to Parliament is being organised by the Kennedy family for Thursday.
Bradshaw also thanked the media for highlighting gender-based violence and violence against women in the country.
She said the media had been informing people about what some women and girls had been subjected to and going through “behind closed doors”.
She said gender-based violence was “no longer a family issue but a national issue”.
Jenelyn, 19, whose father was from Australia and mother from Gulf died from “blunt force trauma to the head and the body with a blunt instrument or object.”
Her body was left at the hospital last Tuesday by three men who arrived in a vehicle.
Laws on gender-based violence needs to be enforced
By REBECCA KUKU
THE country already has laws to protect women and children against violence which must be enforced, says Community Development, Youth and Religion Secretary Anna Kavana Bais.
“Those dealing with enforcement must be held accountable for incompetency. We are talking about the lives of our women and children and families for that matter,” she said.
She said the national prevention and response to gender-based violence plan must be prioritised by the Government and properly funded.
“An issue is made a priority when it is resourced and funded well. That is not the case with the national gender-based violence strategy,” she said. Bais condemned the way Jenelyn Kennedy died last Tuesday in Port Moresby after alleged beatings at home and said the department would not tolerate any form of violence perpetrated against women. She said acts of violence and discrimination against women must stop.
“(They are) becoming so serious to the point of grievous bodily harm, torture and death,” she said.
“Abuse in any way shape or form is illegal. Our women and families are already protected by laws that are not properly enforced.
“Over the years, the department introduced the Lukautim Pikinini Act, the Family Protection Act, and National Prevention and Response to Gender Base Violence – in the hope of protecting women, children and families,” she said.
Jenelyn’s aunt Elizabeth Lolo Bradshaw agreed that the country already had laws in place which must be enforced.
“We need to establish who the enforcers are and hold them accountable,” she said.
Jenelyn endured five years in an “abusive marriage” despite seeking help from the Police Family Sexual Violence and hiding at women’s safe houses in Port Moresby.
Bradshaw said public confidence in police must also be revived.
O’Neill: Plan is already there to address domestic violence
IALIBU-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill says Cabinet had already approved a plan to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
In a statement yesterday, O’Neill said violence against women and girls was “a massive problem that crosses cultural and national boundaries, that was not limited to one age group, or to the illiterate or educated, or to rich or poor people”.
O’Neill said the country needed laws “so that violent abusers are put away for good”, and people “who help violent men to cover up their crimes are charged and jailed”.
“In my view, the friends and family of the man charged with the murder of Jenelyn Kennedy, who stood by and did nothing while she was being abused, should also be charged.”
He said leaders must work much harder to bring about protections and reforms to stop violence against women and girls, and to lock up men who use violence and people who help them cover up their crimes.
“Our mothers, daughters and sisters, and all girls and women in our communities, need new approaches to ensure their protection,” O’Neill said.
The Department for Community Development, Youth and Religion already has the national strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
“So there should be nothing to prevent the Government from resuming activities under this strategy,” he said.
Lack of funding causing delay
A LACK of funding has been blamed for the non-implementation of the gender-based violence strategy approved by the National Executive Council in 2016, according Community Development Youth and Religion Minister Wake Goi.
Goi said funding was needed to set up a secretariat to provide coordination and oversight over violence issues.
Goi said law enforcement agencies such as the police must ensure perpetrators be appropriately punished.
“At this moment we are doing what we can to address gender-based violence and I’m appealing to the law enforcement agencies to stop this demonic act which is taking away innocent lives,” Goi said.
“Gender-based violence is created by human beings and it is the people who can fix it, instead of pointing fingers here and there.
“I want those involved to face tougher laws that can become a lesson to others,” Goi said.
“If we don’t do it now, who else will come and do it?
“It can happen to our daughters or mothers next time.
“I’m appealing to police to do their job without any fear or favour.”