Community workers equipped to address FSV

With her vast experience working with survivors of family and sexual violence (FSV), Salvation Army Captain Velena Gomara knows the importance of equipping community workers with the skills and knowledge needed to assist survivors of violence.

“People need information and knowledge about the type of services that are available to them if they are experiencing violence. The training we are providing is based on the new FSV Survivor Advocate Toolkit and enlarges people’s understanding of the role and responsibilities of service providers and where survivors can get help,” says Captain Gomara.

The National Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee, under the Consultative and Implementation Monitoring Council, provided training in Port Moresby recently to more than 20 community workers.

They were trained on the use of the Survivor Advocate Toolkit, which is a guide to inform and support those experiencing FSV.

The Toolkit is a user-friendly flipchart with illustrations and step-by-step instructions that explain what FSV is, define the laws relating to FSV and the role of service providers, such as police and the courts who provide support to FSV survivors.

Captain Gomara, who is a Victim Support and Counselling Officer with the Salvation Army, said the Toolkit – launched in February – had already proven to be an invaluable resource.

“The Toolkit is very useful, particularly because it uses pictures instead of a lot of writing. When we are working at the local level, often people cannot read and write so the pictures make it easier for people to understand what we are trying to communicate to them,” she said

As awareness of FSV has increased, more and more survivors are reporting cases to the police and demand for support services is growing.

Another trained advocate, Duncan Mailau, from the Kedu Seif Haus in Milne Bay, said it was crucial for more people to be trained as FSV advocates so that they were in a position to assist FSV survivors at the community level to access support services, justice and protection.

This initiative has been provided by the Australian government through the Justice Services and Stability for Development Program.

(Community workers discuss the use of the Survivor Advocate Toolkit during a training session in Port Moresby recently)

Press release