GBV institutions and processes
There is a complex web of bodies across the country working together to address gender-based vilence and to provide crisis response and justice to GBV survivors. This page collects together some of the key national bodies with a mandate to address GBV.
National Gender-Based Violence Secretariat
Early in 2014, the Department for Community Development (DfCDR) and the National Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (a civil society GBV network) joined forces to gauge the best way forward in terms of enhancing ownership, sustainability and impact. Their collaboration resulted in the development of the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to GBV (2016-2025).
The National GBV Strategy is underpinned by the understanding that addressing GBV will require strong leadership, a holistic and coordinated approach supported by ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and research. To drive coordinated implementation and oversight of the National GBV Strategy, a National GBV Secretariat was to be established. As at May 2021, the National GBV Secretariat still only has an Interim Director and has not been fully staffed or funded.
Health Family Support Centres
Family Support Centres (FSCs) have been established by the Ministry of Health and HIV/AIDS to specifically respond to family and sexual violence. There are 18 FSCs across 13 provinces (2015 data).
FSCs offer five essential services:
Medical First Aid (stabilizing immediate physical threats);
Psychological First Aid (emotional stability);
Prevention of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections;
Prevention of Unwanted or Unintended Pregnancies; and
Prevention of Hepatitis B and Tetanus or other life threatening medical conditions
Police Family and Sexual Violence Units
The RPNGC has set up 46 Family and Sexual Violence Units across the country. There are 26 established FSVUs, 8 of which are within NCD. There are 18 FSVUs in the provinces. There are also 20 FSV Desks with officers appointed to respond to FSV. The purpose of the FSVUs is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for people to lodge family and sexual violence complaints. FSVU officers are mandated to:
Provide support to survivors of FSV in a sensitive and non-judgmental manner.
Investigate cases of FSV reported to the unit.
Ensure that all cases of FSV are dealt with in a timely manner.
Assist complainants in applying for Protection or Interim Protection Orders.
Provide relevant support to complainants during the court processes.
Liaise and make referrals to the Sexual Offences Squad (SOS) or CID.
Provide information about, and make referrals to, relevant service providers to ensure better support for victims accessing justice
FSVU’s will not ordinarily deal with serious assaults or assaults of a sexual nature, including child sexual offences . These should be referred to the Sexual Offences Squad (SOS) or to Criminal Investigation Division (CID). The SOS are only based in Boroko and Lae. In other provinces, sexual offences are investigated by CID officers.
The RPNGC also has a Gender and FSV curriculum which is rolled out for the General Constabulary, FSVU Officers and Supervisors. This curriculum is being taught by police trainers and senior FSVU officers to cadets and existing RPNGC officers. The curriculum is currently being updated and will include stronger components on GBV, policing procedures and SARV components.
Within the RPNGC there are Police Prosecutors. In serious cases such as allegations of GBV, the Police Prosecutor will present the case to the Magistrate to ask for the alleged perpetrator to be committed to stand trial in the National Court. If the Magistrate decides there is enough evidence, she or he will commit the alleged perpetrator to stand trial in the National Court. Survivors do not usually have to give evidence in committal proceedings – the Magistrate will usually just rely on the documents provided by the Police Prosecutor to make a decision.
If the Magistrate fails to commit the perpetrator for trial in the National Court, and you feel that she or he has made a mistake, the investigating officer can contact the Family and Sexual Offences Unit (FASOU) of the Office of the Public Prosecutor (OPP) directly and ask about an indictment.
Family and Sexual Offences Unit, Office of Public Prosecutions
Trials in the National Court, including GBV trials, are conducted by lawyers from the Office of Public Prosecutor (OPP) before a Judge. Within the OPP is the the Family and Sexual Offences Unit (FASOU).
The FASOU was established in 2012 in response to rising cases of family and sexual violence. The FASOU is specialised legal unit of prosecutors. They lead the effort to prosecute GBV cases. They know how to sensitively engage with survivors and witnesses and the special ways to handle GBV and child abuse cases.
A GBV survivor does not need to be represented in court by a separate lawyer. The OPP will contact the survivor and help her or him to prepare for being a witness in the trial. The OPP also has a number of victim liaison officers, whose job it is to make sure that the survivors understand and feel supported throughout the National Court process and to refer them to other services that may be helpful for the survivor. They may also be able to provide transport for survivors and other witnesses in the case