The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, along with Bank South Pacific Limited (BSP), Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu PNG, Anitua Ltd, Norton Rose Fulbright PNG, and the PNG Business Coalition for Women (BCFW), signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding collaboration on a public-private Port Moresby based family and sexual violence seif haus and case management centre.
Executives from the MOU signatories and representatives from governmental and non-governmental agencies involved in delivering FSV support services also witnessed the signing ceremony.
The incidence of family and sexual violence (FSV) in PNG is very high, with available reports suggesting that as much as 70% of PNG women have experienced FSV within or outside the family.
"FSV is not only a critical society-wide issue, but also carries negative economic impacts through reduced staff productivity, absenteeism and staff departures. It is a serious cost to PNG businesses, and we believe that investments in prevention and support to employees facing violence make good business sense. We are particularly proud that BSP, one of our key partners in PNG, is leading such an important effort," said Mr. Thomas Jacobs, IFC Country Manager for PNG.
In 2016 BSP, through IFC and BCFW, and with the support of the Australian Government, conducted a feasibility study relating to a possible Port Moresby based private sector led FSV support initiative.
Evidence collected in the study suggested there would be demand from the Port Moresby private sector for a seif haus providing up to 650 bed-night's accommodation per year, case-management services for around 150 FSV survivors per year, and professional counselling services for around 50 FSV survivors per year.
"BSP is proud to be part of this initiative addressing FSV issues impacting employees and employers in the Port Moresby corporate sector. We strongly urge more businesses to join this initiative for the benefit of their employees," said Mr. Robin Fleming, BSP CEO.
As a result of the study, the initial partners - BSP, IFC and BCFW - agreed to progress with the initiative using a private-public partnership model, and invited a number of other Port Moresby based corporations to join them.
"We believe that FSV is not only morally wrong but that it directly affects our bottom line. Participation in this initiative is in our commercial interest and supports our corporate social responsibility goals and ambitions," said Mr. John Gethin-Jones, Anitua Group CEO.
Partners in the MOU intend to work as a group to further evaluate, structure and seek necessary implementation funding for the initiative which will provide support to individuals affected by FSV from Port Moresby-based corporates as well as individuals referred by relevant police and medical units.
"This is an innovative model for FSV services. IFC, BSP and the businesses involved in this initiative are true path-breakers in driving positive change for women and businesses in PNG," said Ms. Lesieli Taviri, Chair of the BCFW.
The public-private nature of this initiative makes it a world first, and despite PNG having some of the highest rates of FSV in the world, its business community is showing world leadership in responding to the issue.