16 May 2013

Alarming PNG child sex abuse figures

1:44 pm on 16 May 2013

The Family Support Centre at the Angau Memorial General Hospital in Papua New Guinea reports that more than half the victims of sexual violence and abuse that they see are children.

The officer in-charge of the facility, Anastasia Wakon, says in the first four months of this year, they have attended to more than 100 cases of violence and sexual abuse where the victims are children.

She told a gathering in Lae protesting against violence towards women and children that the national government must take responsibility and pass stricter laws to deter people from committing these crimes.

The Lae event was one of several so-called Haus Krais held throughout Papua New Guinea.

The founder of Arise PNG Women, Serah Haoda Todd, told the crowd there was a great need for change.

She told the gathered women that they needed to begin this process, then extend it to their families, their communities and eventually throughout the country.

One of the organisers of the Haus Krai in Port Moresby, Esther Igo, says they had widespread support, including from men.

She says some perpetrators of violence against women apologised for their actions during the event.

"There were a lot of men who stood up and apologised to the women of PNG saying they are sorry and enough is enough and they are looking at doing something [about the issue]. Because at the end of the day it is the women who are victims, men who are perpetrators."