Senior Research Officer, Department of Pacific Affairs
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A new report authored by DPA’s Judy Putt, as well as Theresa Phillips, Davida Thomas and Lindy Kanan, details the results of a study into the the uptake and efficacy of family protection orders(FPOs), in Lae Papua New Guinea.
Family protection orders were introduced in Papua New Guinea (PNG) by the Family Protection Act (FPA) 2013 with the aim of improving access to justice and the protection of and support for victims of domestic and family violence (DFV).
Overall the study found that the use of Protection Orders is increasing. Over almost four years there has been an increase in the number of Interim Protection Orders (IPOs) being issued as well as a decline in the time it takes to obtain an IPO and to convert the IPO to a longer term Protection Order (PO).
Some of the facts that contributed to the increase in the uptake and more efficient process included:
- Greater understanding of the purpose and administration of the orders
- Increased capacity in the district court
- Increased support for applicants during the process
Regarding effectiveness, the overall impression from the study was that many breaches may not be reported to police or the courts, and even if they are, that the report may not be followed up. Many stakeholders acknowledged that it was difficult to know the extent to which orders were respected by respondents, but they felt that a fair proportion must be having a positive impact as there was an increasing number of applications.
The women survivors and stakeholders believed there should be more public awareness of family protection orders, but the study highlighted that the current system would struggle with a major increase in demand. A common theme across all interviews was the need to boost the resourcing for services which are currently under considerable pressure to make sure that orders can be applied for and issued, and to assist applicants to feel safe enough to pursue the option.
This was only a pilot study and further research is required to continue to build our knowledge of how the FPA is being implemented and whether it is meeting its objectives. The full report entitled Family Protection Orders – A Key Response to Domestic and Family Violence is available below.