ChildFund Papua New Guinea, in partnership with the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC) of PNG, will work together for the next five years to develop PNG’s first national counselling service offering support to survivors of family and sexual violence. This service will provide immediate counselling, information and referral to callers in order to help deal them with their situation. It will be available via a national, toll-free hotline number and will operate 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
With the generous support of the New Zealand Government’s Partnerships for International Development Fund, ChildFund New Zealand and ChildFund Australia, and major corporate partner Digicel, the hotline is planned to go live and be fully operational by late 2015.
FSVAC was established in 2000 to be the principal national body focused on addressing family and sexual violence. ChildFund Papua New Guinea has had an operational presence in PNG since 1995 and currently supports a wide range of child-focused development activities.
FSVAC has passionately advocated for more psychosocial services to be developed for survivors of family and sexual violence and their families, in particular calling for more counselling and referral options. ChildFund has responded to FSVAC’s call and will deliver in partnership with FSVAC a comprehensive counselling and referral hotline service. The hotline will have professional counsellors available up to 12 hours a day and be able to counsel in PNG’s three national working languages.
Callers will have access to:
Information and guidance on how to deal with their situation
Referrals to the appropriate service providers closest to their location
Personal and confidential counselling at the time of their call helping to stabilise their emotions and prepare them to take steps to seek medical care, protection and legal recourse
Manish Joshi, ChildFund PNG's country director, says: "The development of a hotline has been promoted because of the challenging topography and largely rural nature of PNG. A telephone-based system is ideal for PNG considering over 75% of the population has access to a mobile phone.
“ChildFund will work closely with other INGOs that have existing services for survivors and with provincial Family and Sexual Violence Action Committees (FSVAC) and Family Support Centres. Early next year, ChildFund PNG will be taking up an extensive mapping exercise in four pilot provinces (Central, NCD, Morobe and Chimbu) to assess the services available for survivors of family and sexual violence. This will assist in making effective referrals. For other provinces, the project will rely on available information from FSVAC."
Further details about the exact go-live date and telephone number will be made public in due course.