Doctors, family, friends ‘failed’ Jenelyn in duty of care, says PNG researcher

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Bosip Kaiwi
Bosip Kaiwi at Boroko Police Station ... charged with wilful murder. Image: PNG Police

By Grace Auka-Salmang in Port Moresby

The care of duty supposed to be provided to the young Papua New Guinean mother Jenelyn Kennedy killed last week was not properly done and everybody involved failed her, says a leading resarcher and anti-violence advocate.

“This includes the police officers at the Family Sexual Violence Unit (FSVU), doctors, family, friends and neighbours, who all failed to save this young lady who faced five years of torture by her partner,” said Dr Fiona Hukula.

“Those doctors who were involved need to be held accountable as they breached their medical ethics.

READ MORE: Gender-based violence in PNG background and reports

“Most of the FSVU operate until 4pm and a lot of this violence happens at night,” she said.

“The justice system does not start from the courts, it starts once a complaint is registered at the police station and the referral pathways are not effectively carried out.

“Not every case reported is attended to by the police as the survivor is told to return when it is open for operation.

“As far as I know, those people who work at the FSVU are not in the police structure, which means that they take them from other areas of policing.”

Specialised police needed
Dr Hukula said Papua New Guinea cannot have that kind of policing.

Gender-based violence police needed to be specialised – “be there at the counter all the time and be proactive in handling women”.

“For many women, they front up at the FSVU but do not return for some time due to continuous violence. So what the officer in FSVU should do is do a follow up and look for the survivor rather than waiting for her to return with more bruises or even result in death like the [last week’s] killing.

“The law is there, we need the systems and processes to effectively work for those suffering from violence.

“The child welfare system did not work for her, the police system did not work too, and so what has gone wrong here.

“Obviously in PNG, people with money and power get away with things,” she said.

Jenelyn Kennedy
Jenelyn Kennedy … died last week at 19 in a tragic gender-based violence case in Papua New Guinea. Image: EMTV News

Dr Hukula said the Family Support Centre headed by Tessie Tahiti Ranu needed more support as she was a champion because she dealt with survivors of violence and abuse, including children. Her kind of work needed a lot of support.

“We put a lot of money into law and justice response, we are not getting an outcome,” she said.

‘Start conversation at home’
“It is important to start this conversation in your own home.

“There are proper ways and processes to deal with anger apart from fighting. Everybody argues, and that is normal.

“However, what is not normal is fighting especially when beating up somebody up so badly which can result in death as such.”

EMTV News reports that the family has refused suggestions of compensation and have demanded justice.

They say the law, such as the Family Protection Act, the Criminal Code Act and the Lukautim Pikinini Act need to be sternly looked at and for enforcers and stakeholders to rise up and take action.

Partner charged with murder
The National reports police had charged a man with wilful murder over the death of Jenelyn Kennedy, the 19-year-old mother of two last Tuesday.

A statement issued by divisional police commander for the National Capital District and Central, Assistant Commissioner Anthony Wagambie Jr, and Metropolitan Superintendent N’dranou Perou, said Bosip Kaiwi, Jenelyn’s partner, was facing a charge of wilful murder.

He was being detained at the Boroko police station and expected to appear in court yesterday.

Eva Wangihama of the Laity Commission said men should not use their masculinity to exert power over women.

She urged the government to educate men on proper conduct and ethical behaviour.

Marie Mondu, development secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, said: “Justice is not enough. We want all violence to end”

“It is alarming to see young women and girls brutally murdered by partners almost every month in PNG.”

Grace Auka-Salmang is a PNG Post-Courier reporter.

Justice for Jenelyn
A “Justice for Jenelyn” support family in Bougainville. Image: The National
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