Papua New Guinea
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Family Violence is a mental issue

Archbishop Anton Bal of Madang Arch Diocese and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands referred to violence as a result of mentality and a situation.

He was speaking at the launching of the Catholic Safe Houses Association in Madang recently.

“For this violence we are trying to provide safety, security for people who become victim of violence. Not so long ago, just a week ago, church leaders in Papua New Guinea have come together to form an alliance against violence sponsored by DFAT, Australia.  All the leaders of the churches were there and we launched the Alliance against Violence as churches,” Archbishop Bal said.

He added that violence is a result of mentality. It’s result of a situation. It’s a result of a formal structure that doesn’t provide for what is necessary and the basic behind the tier that we are facing all the time is ‘education’.

“If we have educated people, we have informed people who make informed decisions, will make what to do from day to day and they will make right choices,” Archbishop Bal explained.

Fr. Giorjio Licini, Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference was the celebrant at the opening of the association. Sr. Lucy Secretary of Family Life Commission was also present to witness the launch of this vital service.  

Fr. Giorjio said in his homily, he likened the work of the safe houses as the salt and light.

“I think this image of the light is inspiring us today for our celebration as we launch this project initiative of the safe houses. We can ask ourselves what will be the light in these houses?” Fr. Giorjio asked.

In the last 17 years, Caritas Australia has assisted the safe houses in the dioceses with funding from the Church Partnership Programme.  The number of years of the organisation has existed shows the quality of services they provided which encouraged continued funding over the years.

 “And I would like to acknowledge that most of these wonderful sisters and nuns here in this room have been doing a tremendous job loving and caring through their ministry work, always providing shelter, food clothing and anything else to anyone who comes to them for help, even if they don’t have any money, their doors are still open.  So that’s how powerful the work of the church is in providing the protection for our women and children.” Caritas Australia’s Country Director, Roslyn Kuniata said.

Kuniata urged the relevant government departments and other NGOs to work in partnership with the Catholic Safe Houses throughout the country to support each other in advocating against all forms of violence in PNG.