5 Dec 2013

Early intervention key to stopping PNG sorcery violence - Catholic bishop

10:17 am on 5 December 2013

A conference on sorcery-related violence in Papua New Guinea has heard that church and community leaders must focus on early intervention.

The three-day meeting in the Eastern Highlands provincial capital Goroka will wrap up today with a list of recommendations for government policy.

Increasing numbers of women around the country are being attacked following sorcery accusations, often suffering prolonged torture, sexual assault and violent, public death.

A Catholic bishop, Anton Bal, told delegates early intervention is one way his church in Simbu province is stopping bereaved families from seeking someone to blame.

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Our leaders, we encourage them to be attentive to community new and events. If anything happens, they have to be there. Death of an important person - they have to be present and they have to be present during the mourning time and also during the periods of a funeral.

Bishop Anton Bal says obtaining clear police and medical reports at such times is also essential.