Bel Isi PNG is an innovative new approach to addressing the rising impact and cost of family and sexual violence in Port Moresby, by bringing together the private sector, community-based organisations, the National Capital District Commission and the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The initiative recognises the impact family and sexual violence has on employees and the increasing cost to employers and businesses as a result of this violence. A 2015 survey into the cost to business of gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea found 68 per cent of employees experienced family and sexual violence, with an average of 11 days lost per employee each year.
Through a subscription service, Bel Isi PNG will support the private sector to comprehensively address the impact of family and sexual violence on their workforce and reduce the cost to business. The Business Coalition for Women will brief subscribers on the importance of policies and procedures to manage family and sexual violence.
Bel Isi PNG will also support effective case management and safe houses services in the community and will promote stronger partnerships and coordination among service providers in Port Moresby. Femili PNG will provide integrated case management services to survivors of family and sexual violence to help them access counselling, safe house or emergency accommodation, referral to police or medical care, and advocacy and support for clients (women, men and children) seeking protection orders or going to court.
At the launch of Bel Isi PNG on 6 September, Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis thanked organisations that have been supporting survivors of family and sexual violence in Port Moresby. He said it was encouraging to see existing services working closely with the new initiative. “Bel Isi PNG acknowledges the impact the high rates of family and sexual violence have on our staff, their families and communities, and the responsibility we have as employers to create a safe workplace and support survivors”.
The same sentiments were shared by NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, at the launch, who said it was everyone’s responsibility to respond to this national emergency.
“We want to leave a legacy, we want to make a difference. All amounts to nothing if half our population can’t fulfil their potential. Family and Sexual violence is our biggest challenge,” Governor Parkop said.
Attending the event while in Port Moresby to attend APEC meetings, Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Dr Sharman Stone said, “It is the right of every girl to reach her potential without fear. Australia is working with partnerships throughout the Pacific including PNG to support women in leadership, women’s economic empowerment and eradicate violence against women.”
Bel Isi PNG would not have been possible without the strong support from Bank South Pacific, Steamships Trading, Oil Search Foundation and the Australian Government’s Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program. The project works in close partnership with the National Capital District Commission, the Governor of the National Capital District, and the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee.
In addition to a strong focus on private sector employees, Bel Isi PNG supports NCDC and the public sector to improve services for everyone experiencing family and sexual violence. Kila Dick, Co-Chair of the Bel Isi PNG Steering Committee said that helping the entire community was also good for business. “We will ensure nobody gets left behind”, he said.
For further information, including access to related materials, please contact the Australian High Commission media team: +675 7090 0100
Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls Dr Sharman Stone (centre) with NCD Governor Hon Powes Parkop, Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis (2nd from left) and other dignitaries at the Bel Isi PNG Launch.