Allegations of rape by police at PNG police station

5:29 pm on 5 November 2020

Two Papua New Guinea policemen have been charged with rape allegedly committed inside a police station in Alotau.

The Milne Bay police commander, Peter Barkie, told the Guardian he fears other sexual assaults may have been committed by police, with victims too afraid to report the attacks.

He said rapes and sexual assaults are almost never reported to police, with victims deterred by cultural and social stigma and an abiding mistrust of the police.

One of the assault survivors, detained by police for alleged adultery, was allegedly raped by a policeman in March this year.

Two officers have been charged over the alleged assault.

Papua New Guinea police.

Papua New Guinea police. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

A Milne Bay resident who spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, said she believed assaults had been occurring for years and that perpetrators escaped prosecution because rape was seen as a taboo topic in conservative, deeply religious, PNG society.

Barkie urged women who had been assaulted to lay complaints with the police.

He said he was working to reform the culture and practices at the station and across Milne Bay.

In his three-month term as commander, four officers had been dismissed and charged over allegations of rape, murder and theft.

A further eight officers have been charged with serious disciplinary offences.