2 Sep 2008

NGOs struggle to provide counselling to war victims on Bougainville eleven years on

2:17 pm on 2 September 2008

An NGO head in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says people are continuing to suffer trauma more than ten years after the civil war there ended.

Helen Hakena of the Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency, says her organisation and others are still being called on to counsel men, women and children affected by the years of violence.

She says the agency tries to offer help to victims of rape, domestic violence, child abuse and incest with 27 counsellors spread through the province.

"But the number isn't enough to cater for the number of victims because the areas are so vast. youn know, so widely spread, so isolated, and because of the infrastructure. Road systems are bad, there are no bridges. Bougainville is a mountainous country and we have got fast flowing rivers - our counsellors cannot reach other villages or schools on foot. It is very difficult."