Disturbing violence in poverty-stricken PNG

Papua New Guinea continues to grapple with high levels of violence against women and children, despite the government introducing the death sentence to try and curb it.

A new report shows a quarter of those seeking help after being raped, are under the age of 12.

ONE News Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver says an overwhelming number of women and children in PNG are the victims of violence and it's so endemic most cases aren't even reported.

Barry Coates from Oxfam says virtually all women in by the age of 25 are likely to have suffered at least some incident of domestic violence in their lives.

Violent crime is particularly common in the capital Port Moresby and the Highlands, and the Government recently introduced the death penalty for murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill believes there has been a remarkable decline in the number of cases they are experiencing. "That is one indication that people are taking these new changes and the new laws very seriously," he said.

But non-government organisations are yet to see the benefits and a Childfund Australia report has found that half of the people who seek medical help after being raped are younger than 16, with a quarter under 12.

There are six safe houses around Port Moresby but there's a desperate need for more. An Oxfam-funded shelter helps women and children who have survived abuse piece their lives back together but getting hospital reports and the police to act is a serious issue.

"When we refer them it takes too long," Mary Ngeri from Lifeline said.

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But the shelters offer survivors hope, which is more than the victims had before.

TVNZ

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