In May 2021, in PNG’s national parliament, a special parliamentary committee on gender-based violence conducted public hearings and invited submissions to gain evidence on the breadth of the problems and positive steps that could be taken to combat them.
The incidence of domestic violence (DV) in PNG, and gender-based violence more broadly, is believed to be amongst the highest in the world. Evaluating the scale of the problem, including variations across time and different geographic areas — as well as the impact of reforms — is hindered by a lack of robust and reliable data (Putt and Dinnen 2020). A notable exception to this lack of research is an in-depth study undertaken several years ago that examined domestic violence cases in the Boroko District Court, a busy urban court in Port Moresby (Ganai 2017). This is the first and only study of domestic violence cases in the District Courts and provides important insights into aspects of the criminal justice process, as well as factors beyond it, that can influence the outcome of judicial proceedings and the experiences of complainants in DV cases. The study is a good example of what can be revealed through careful data collection and analysis.