A new helpline assisting survivors of sexual and domestic violence in Papua New Guinea has been launched with the help of New Zealanders.
ChildFund NZ, which has a branch in the island nation, has pooled together a total of $2.6 million in charitable donations and match funding from the Government's Aid Programme towards the initiative, which is being announced in Port Moresby today.
Papua New Guinea has long been plagued with extreme domestic and sexual violence against women; with the majority of cases going unreported and unpunished.
A range of statistics released over the years shows more than 60 per cent of women admitting being beaten at some point of their lives - many of them by their husbands and also while pregnant.
However, many researchers believe the rates of abuse are much higher.
The helpline - which will run nationwide and toll free - will see professional counsellors taking calls 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Those who call through will not only been given one-to-one counselling, but also information about where else to seek help locally.
ChildFund NZ chief executive Paul Brown said the hope was to help survivors deal with their circumstances but also speak out about what they've been through.
"In stark contrast to being so close to many of our favourite Pacific holiday destinations, Papua New Guinea has a staggering reputation for violence against women and children - particularly young girls,'' he said.
"Counselling is a critical aspect of this service. It can assist survivors through the immediate crisis and help stabilise emotions; provide options, information and resources; and guide them through the processes of seeking medical care, protection and legal recourse."
This hotline is about providing women with a safe channel to talk through the trauma they are experiencing and guide them in seeking the help and protection they deserve.
Help available in NZ
People in New Zealand experiencing family violence or needing support can contact local organisations including:
• Shine: 0508 744 633
• It's not OK: 0800 456 450
• Women's Refuge Crisis line: 0800 733 843
• Or 111 if you are in immediate danger