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26 Feb 2016

New report from Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) reveals gaps in services, and a failure to protect survivors of family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea, women and children endure shockingly high levels of family and sexual violence, with rates of abuse estimated to be some of the highest in the world outside a conflict zone.

Two out of every three survivors of partner violence MSF treated had been wounded with weapons, including sticks, knives, machetes or blunt instruments.

The health consequences of family and sexual violence are significant, including but not limited to: serious injuries; unwanted pregnancy; unsafe abortion; sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; urinary tract infections; chronic pelvic pain; miscarriage; sexual dysfunction; infertility; increased vulnerability to disease; mental trauma; and even death.

Médecins Sans Frontières' response to family and sexual violence in PNG

Adequate and timely medical and psychological care is crucial to help minimise the consequences of family and sexual violence, in order to treat often-serious injuries and to treat or prevent diseases and any other medical and psychosocial conditions.

The Five Essential Medical Services Include:

  • Medical first-aid to treat injuries
  • Psychological first aid
  • Medicine and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection and treat other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  • Vaccinations to prevent Hepatitis B and Tetanus
  • Emergency contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies as a result of rape

"Safe houses currently operate in a legal limbo in relation to children who flee violence without parental consent and will not take them in. These children are left with nowhere to run."

 

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