The call that changed it all

It was that first call on August 20, 2015, that changed the whole idea of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the country.

In PNG, when we talk about GBV, we think of men as perpetrators, says Wesh Siku.

He is the project coordinator for 1-Tok Kaunselin with Child Fund PNG.

He says 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain project was set up to help women and children going through Family and Sexual Violence. 

But with the launch of the project in August 20, the first call in was from a man.

Two more calls that followed were also from men.  

“That made us to stop and think,” he said.

Now, almost 2 years, the centre has had well over 6000 calls, 50 percent of which are from men.

He believes there is a reason for this.

In PNG context, men don’t approach women for advice. Or they would not seek advice from another when a woman is present and watching.

However, in this context with the call centre, it’s become obvious that men feel more comfortable talking over the phone to a woman rather than a man.

Siku says the counselling profession is very new in the country and recruiting counsellors was a challenge.

But to date, the centre boasts 4 local professional counsellors and despite targeting only 4 provinces – Simbu, Central, Port Moresby and Morobe, calls are received from all over PNG.

Siku says they even receive calls from the expatriate community in the country.

The project, started in partnership with CIMC, is a 5 year contract. But based on the amount of work, calls and the number of successes seen, Siku says the project needs to continue beyond that.

 At the moment, the centre operates from 7am – 7pm.

1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain is 7150 800.

Related article:

Interns to help survivors on Kaunselin Helpim Line

Gender and family sexual based violence is a global issue

Gloria Bauai