‘It gives us nightmares,’ says PNG police officer dealing with domestic violence

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First Constable Mary Louise Avu PNG 110621
PNG's First Constable Mary Louise Avu ... "we wipe tears with [the victims], feel their pain ..." Image: PNG Post-Courier

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

“We take the pain and problems of victims home and it gives us nightmares many times.”

A police woman serving at the Family Sexual Violence Unit (FSVU) of the Papua New Guinea’s Waigani police station in the capital Port Moresby has shared her experience of how officers deal with victims being thrown out of homes, bashed up, marital affairs and other domestic-related issues faced with their partners.

First Constable Mary Louise Avu said many officers took the burden of victims of gender-based violence home and it had affected them mentally, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

“I am sleeping and in the middle of the night, a woman is calling me and crying over the phone begging for help,” she said.

“I can hear her being beaten up and when I call the support unit to assist us, no one is answering the phone or no vehicle and I don’t sleep. I stay up thinking of what the woman is going through.

“At that point, all we can do is advise the victim to seek safety and wait for the next day for police assistance.

“We try our best to help them. We wipe tears with them, feel their pain and carry the burden with them.

‘It isn’t easy’
“It isn’t an easy job when you see these women seeking help,” she said.

The public was good at giving negative comments about the work of the police but many of them did not know the real people behind the work.

She said there were policemen working hard to keep the community safe for everyone to walk freely — policemen were mentally defeated daily by people they protected.

At least 30 to 40 fresh cases of domestic violence were reported daily with the special unit at police stations around the city.

The Waigani FSVU office was looked after by six officers with eight cases being handled by each officer daily.

This statistics showed that more than 40 cases were registered by victims throughout the suburbs as far as 9-Mile, Erima, and Wildlife leaving their nearest station to come to being Waigani.

First Constable Avu said the victims travelled from outside areas to the station because of the effective results and the work the unit officers did.

‘Many prosecutions made’
“Many cases are handled and prosecutions are made,” she said.

She said despite the issues faced by officers such as the ink running out for the printer to non-availability of vehicles for arrests, they continued to work.

“One of the biggest problems now is the court system. We are preparing all the paper work and prosecuting the perpetrator but many have been released because they plead to the court that they are first time offenders thus the courts are lenient on them,” she said.

Const Avu said the court gave a three-month good behaviour bond which was not enough.

“Those three months should be served in prison. Many perpetrators are let off and continue to harass their partners,” she said.

Republished with permission.

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