25 Nov 2008

PNG near bottom in global ranking of gender equality

4:04 pm on 25 November 2008

A new report says women in Papua New Guinea suffer some of the worst violence in the world.

The AusAID Violence against Women in Melanesia and East Timor report ranks PNG 124th out of 136 countries on a gender related development index.

The report also says PNG's maternal mortality rate is more than double that of any other Pacific country.

It says education enrolment rates for girls relative to boys are among the lowest in the Pacific, which led to disadvantages in the formal economy.

The report also noted alarming levels of PNG women are turning to informal prostitution, exchanging sex for food or money.

Speaking at the launch of the report, the Police Commissioner in PNG, Gari Baki, has reiterated his commitment to tackling violence against women.

He says to this end he has given his officers specific directives.

These include police committing to investigate all complaints of family and sexual violence; that they will be investigated regardless of the status of the people involved and that the complaints will be treated as criminal offences..

Mr Baki says police have improved their procedures to try and ensure that offenders are successfully prosecuted and punished.

One such change is the establishment of Victims of Crime Desks to improve police efficiency.