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CBC hosts first Safe House Workshop


    -Rosemary Yambune


Port Moresby: The Development Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference (CBC) hosted its first workshop for 5 Catholic Safe Houses in the country. 


Held from the 17th to 19th of February, the workshop had representatives from the House of Hope in Madang, Stella Maris in Wewak, Couppe House in Rabaul, Nazareth Rehabilitation Centre in Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Caritas Australia and Heads of Commissions from Laity, National Family Life Apostolate and Right Relations.


“Safe houses require careful planning, expertise and holistic sustainable approaches to meet the needs of violated and vulnerable populations within their communities,” said Marie Mondu, the Development Secretary of CBC PNGSI.


“CBCPNGSI supports this direction and would like to ensure all existing safe house facilities and upcoming ones must operate under a Standard Catholic protocol considering the pastoral care of clients, inputs from Religious Federation for governance and linkage to available support services. That is why we have hosted the first workshop for these Safe Houses to make sense of all of these operational concerns.”


The representatives during the three-day program identified available resources and challenges that Safe Houses have, particularly, the manpower, infrastructure, population, support programs,skills,sustainability and networks. They also reviewed the existing policies and guidelines that dictate the operation of their respective Safe Houses put in place by Consultative Implementation Monitoring Committee (CIMC).


The program hosted a press conference on the 19th of February, to announce the Launch of its Catholic Safe House Association initiative and provided recommendations for improvement to Department of Community Development and Religious Office, CBCPNGSI, and CIMC. The official launch date is set for 30th June 2020. 


According to the inception statement, there is growing interest to provide special accommodation or short stay refuge for battered women and their children who are under 18. Few of such facilities, now commonly known as safe houses are self-funded mostly and sometimes receives donor subsidies. 


These facilities are coordinated by different Catholic Religious movements who fall under the Religious Federation of CBC PNGSI. 


Workshop participants included Coordinator for Centre of Hope in Madang, Sr Teckla Gamog SSTH, Sr Scholar Banik FMCI from Stella Maris in Wewak, representing Couppe safe house Rabaul, were Serah Limaivuai and Fionna Richards a support staff from Volunteer Service Abroad in USA.  Few other CBC staff and observers from Male Advocacy Program were also present. 

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