Papua New Guinea: The medical and emotional needs of survivors of family and sexual violence

This MSF report highlights the urgent, unmet medical and emotional needs of survivors of family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea. It recommends concrete action in order to meet these needs.

Family and sexual violence have long been recognized as serious problems in Papua New Guinea. Almost 20 years ago a government study revealed shocking levels of violence throughout the country.

Further studies have reached the same conclusion: family and sexual violence in Papua New Guinea is widespread and has a devastating impact on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

In the last 20 years a great deal of time and resources have been invested to tackle this issue, yet almost no progress has been made in providing essential medical and psychosocial care to survivors.

Lives are being lost and thousands of women and children are suffering unnecessarily without adequate medical and psychosocial services.

Rape survivors are at risk of HIV infection, sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis B, tetanus and unwanted pregnancies if they do not receive timely, specialized care.

Some survivors are at risk of depression, suicide, anxiety, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder.

These acute needs remain hidden and are neglected by Papua New Guinea’s health facilities.

MSF works in Papua New Guinea to address this neglect, providing specialized care for thousands of survivors of sexual, physical and emotional abuse in Lae, Morobe Province and Tari, Southern Highlands Province.

This report presents the experiences of MSF’s patients. It is based on first-hand testimonies of staff and survivors, as well as previously unseen medical data.

MSF’s experience shows that providing quality, specialized care is possible.

This report demonstrates that services are needed. They are used and valued when they are available. More than anything, the report highlights the glaring gaps in services in other parts of the country.

MSF has worked in Papua New Guinea since 2007.

> Download the report “Hidden and Neglected”