Researchers from Australian National University, University of Papua New Guinea and the Lae University of Technology explored the connections between women’s experiences of seeking support to address family and sexual violence and their children’s well-being and opportunities for education in Papua New Guinea’s second largest city, Lae in April 2018. The research involved community focus group discussions town-hall style meetings, individual in-depth semi-structured interviews and meetings with service providers including police, the public solicitor’s office, schools and Femili PNG.
The research findings make clear:
• survivors of violence take multiple financial and social considerations into account before seeking assistance;
• that there are various informal and formal support mechanisms available and used;
• that financial hardship is both a barrier to seeking assistance and often the result for families when separated;
• that family and sexual violence and financial hardship negatively impacts school attendance;
• that despite minimal resources many schools in Lae are supporting students impacted by family and sexual violence in responsive and innovative ways;
• that women who did seek police support usually received it, and that police usually take a mediating rather than criminal justice approach which was in accordance with the wishes of most survivors; and
• that women need more information on what assistance is available and more help to access assistance.