AUSTRALIAN Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has outlined a new support strategy for Papua New Guinea to combat family and sexual violence in its second largest city, Lae.

Research suggests that an estimated two in three PNG women have experienced domestic violence, affecting their health, human rights, freedom of movement and ability to work.

Australia will continue to deliver broad-ranging assistance to help PNG to provide essential services to survivors of family and sexual violence.

Australia will fund a new PNG Family and Sexual Violence Case Management Centre in Lae, with a team of individual case workers to ensure women and children receive medical support as well as the immediate shelter, legal support and other services they need. The team will train other service providers, and advocate for more effective services. Australia has pledged A$3 million to the centre over three years.

The new Centre builds on Australia’s assistance for essential services, including supporting the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary to establish 11 Family and Sexual Violence Units in Metropolitan Police Stations, including a unit in Lae and providing training for senior magistrates and district court clerks to improve the issuance of protection orders to prevent further violence in the home and in the community.

The Australian and Papua New Guinean Governments will also co-fund the redevelopment of the Lae Angau Memorial Hospital, which houses a family support centre to meet the immediate health needs of survivors of violence. In 2010, the centre helped 530 survivors of sexual violence, including 192 cases involving children.