A nun running a centre caring for abused women and children in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says having access to the courts is a major breakthrough.
Sister Lorraine Garasu of the Nazareth Rehabilitation Centre in Buka says it has been providing a refuge for victims of domestic violence for more than ten years.
She says it remains a big problem but a programme called 'Women - Access to Justice' has had a major impact.
Sister Garasu says with the help of a legal advisor provided by New Zealand's Volunteer Service Abroad, the centre has been able to put the necessary legal infrastructure in place.
"So that now women can actually access justice. Like in the past when they were coming to us we were just providing care and counselling. And then they go back to the village, so they go back home and they face the problem all over again. Now women can actually get protection, access protection from the courts."
Sister Lorraine Garasu says there are cases being taken to court every week.
She is in Wellington to give the keynote address at VSA's 50th anniversary Congress.