Research on Family Protection Orders in Papua New Guinea
Senior Research Officer, Department of Pacific Affairs
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The Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA) is conducting research on how Family Protection Orders are being used in Papua New Guinea.
Family Protections Orders were introduced by the Family Protection Act which came into effect in 2014 as a legislative response to domestic violence. A Family Protection Order is a court order that is intended to reduce the risk of future harm by one family member who is considered to be a threat to another.
The research builds on a pilot project that was undertaken in Lae, Morobe Province in 2018 in conjunction with local service provider Femili PNG. An overview of the findings and related reports from the pilot project are available here.
This second phase of research runs from mid-2019 to mid-2020 and aims to obtain a broader view of Family Protections Order use by covering five locations:
• Port Moresby, National Capital District
• Lae, Morobe Province
• Mount Hagen, Western Highlands Province
• Popondetta, Oro Province
• Arawa, Autonomous Region of Bougainville
DPA has partnered with a number of organisations to conduct the research including Femili PNG, the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby and the PNG University of Technology in Lae. Local Papua New Guinean researchers have been engaged to conduct interviews in the provincial locations.
The DPA research team members include Dr Judy Putt and Ms Lindy Kanan.
The research is hoping to answer questions such as:
• What do complainants want when seeking family protection orders and what do they expect as a result of being issued one?
• How is the process being conducted?
• How many orders are being granted and are they meeting the needs of complainants?
• Are the conditions of the orders being respected, and if not, what are the consequences if they are breached?
• How are family protection orders being used by complainants to try to ensure their safety?
• How do court-issued family protection orders interact with community, customary and church-based mechanisms of ensuring safety?
The research also includes a survey of young people to understand their attitudes and perceptions of domestic violence, as well as their knowledge of the law and relevant services. The survey is being lead by Dr Francis Essacu of PNG University of Technology and Ms Geejay Milli of University of Papua New Guinea.
The findings of the project are expected to be published in mid to late 2020.
The research project is supported by the Australian Government in partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea as part of the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program and the Justice Services and Stability for Development (JSS4D) program.
For further information see the following links:
• Presentation at the ‘PNG Update’ at the University of Papua New Guinea on 9 August 2019: article, presentation and audio.
• Lae Pilot Project (February 2019) Final Report, In Brief Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
• Devpolicy Blog, 23 November 2018: Family protection orders in Lae: some positive signs
• Femili PNG report November 2018: Protection Order Data: 2014 to 2018