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In a short film commissioned by the Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA) and released here today, five PNG researchers share their experiences of doing research as part of a DPA-led research initiative assessing the efficacy of family protection orders (FPOs) in six locations in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
In the film, the researchers discuss the mixed methods approach that was adopted, using a range of information sourced from survivors, service providers and the community. These included interviews, a survey of young adults, and any available statistics recorded by police, the courts and specialist family and sexual violence (FSV) services.
This film was produced by Oliver Friedmann of the ANU, with footage, images and recordings recorded on location in 2019-20 by the Research Team.
As Judy Putt, the lead ANU researcher for this project, notes: “It was crucial for us to work in collaboration with local partners and researchers who have the knowledge and understanding of local conditions. This ensured our research was undertaken ethically and as safely as possible.”
Lindy Kanan, ANU researcher, explains: “DPA worked with PNG universities including the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in Port Moresby and the PNG University of Technology (UNITECH) in Lae to complete the study. We also partnered with specialist FSV services including Femili PNG, Voice for Change and the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation.”
Following on from the first short film released today, a second film will present the main research findings of the report.
What are family protection orders (FPOs)?
Restraining or protection orders are used across the world as an important tool to prevent or reduce domestic and family violence. In PNG family protection orders were introduced under the Family Protection Act 2013. The aim is to improve the safety of applicants by making it clear that certain behaviours are not allowed, and that the respondent has to comply with certain conditions. If these conditions are breached, a criminal charge can be laid. The orders act as warning to perpetrators and signal that the state does not condone domestic and family violence in any circumstance.
Examining the use and efficacy of FPOs in PNG: from a pilot study to a larger scale study
To examine the use and efficacy of FPOs, DPA undertook a pilot study in Lae, PNG in 2018. The study identified an increase in the number of applications and that the process of applying for orders was improving, but that very few breaches were being reported. Building on this study, a larger project was funded by the Australian Government through the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program (Pacific Women) and the Pacific Research Program to look at FPOs in six locations across PNG. These were: Port Moresby, National Capital District; Lae, Morobe Province; Mount Hagen, Western Highlands Province; Popondetta, Oro Province; Buka and Arawa, Autonomous Region of Bougainville and Minj, Jiwaka Province. The study has also drawn on research conducted for a separate study on family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea funded by the Australian Government through the Justice Services and Stability for Development (JSS4D) program.
Figure 1 Attributed to CartoGIS Services, CAP, Australian National University, 2020