Port Moresby: Five Safe House Directress throughout PNG are meeting in Port Moresby, Catholic Bishop Conference from 8th to 9th December. The number of members has slightly increased by two as Vanimo and Mendi Diocese joins in. The Safe Houses are specialized services providing temporary shelter for violated women and children in PNG whilst survivors of violence seek justice and healing.
These facilities are standalone services striving to address reduction of family violence in communities of Bougainville, Madang, Wewak, Vanimo, Port Moresby and Rabaul. Among many operational obstacles sustainability of services is a concern across the regions. Day one led into organizational capacity assessments and strategizing how to utilize these existing assets to raise income. Although Safe Houses could benefit from consistent support from State and Church grants, these women led services want to demonstrate self-reliance. Being donor dependent has its own challenges. Especially in times of epidemic as the COVID-19, there were reduced direct donations from Overseas Catholic Charities.
The first day of workshop is used to identifying existing assets in the form of physical, political affiliations, social networks, financial opportunities, and human talent. This is opening up opportunities for fundraising ideas. She Techla Gamog Safe House Director of Madang said, "We do work very well with LLG Councillors and they make good political affiliates in safe house management and community education".
Among the workshop deliveries are first draft of a five-year plan with three (3) end goals. First is to have a reliable income source, second is to retain permanent staffing and thirdly is to mainstream the Safe House Services to existing governing and administrative structures of the Catholic Church. From the identified assets, strategies will be drawn to use these existing assets achieve the three end goals in five years' time. Not to lose sight of the overall vision. That is by sustaining quality services - the issue of Family Wellbeing will be addressed for those clients that transits safe houses. In addition, benefits such as trauma counseling, livelihood income generating skills, community education and direct involvement for community policing are reaching surrounding communities where these safe houses are.
The Association plans to open up membership to the general public once its formalized through IPA registration. It seeks to join efforts with Department of Community Development especially GESI Coordination Desk in the near future. It welcomes partnerships, from business houses and professional bodies who stand against Domestic Violence for stronger voice and service delivery functions.