On Thursday, foreign minister Julie Bishop announced that Australia will fund a new case management centre in the country’s second largest city of Lae, providing shelter and support for victims of violence. The $3m will be provided over three years, supported by Oxfam and the Australian National University. Among services offered will be medical and legal support, and training for other service providers.
Two ANU academics have played an integral role in getting the initiative off the ground. Dr Kamalini Lokuge, of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, has been working with the Lae Family Support Centre, which provides medical care to survivors. Her research led her to note the high numbers of women and children who suffered physical and sexual violence, particularly at the hands of family members, and the need for a cross-sectoral response to provide them with lasting solutions against this violence.
Together with Professor Stephen Howes, Director of the Development Policy Centre at Crawford School, and colleagues in PNG, in particular Ms Ume Wainetti, National Coordinator of the PNG Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee, they developed the case management centre project.
Survivors of family and sexual violence need access to a range of services, from medical and psycho-social care to emergency shelter, police protection, legal recourse, and vocational training. The CMC will work closely with existing service providers in Lae – the Family Support Centre, the Lae safe houses, the police, the prosecutors’ office, the orphanage, government social workers, and other NGOs. By acting together, better outcomes for the protection and support of survivors will be achieved.
The CMC also aims to have a national impact by working with those in other parts of the country who are engaged in similar endeavours, and by offering training in case management, and disseminating good practice and lessons learnt. And we plan to learn a lot more about what works in responding to family and sexual violence.