One call can save a life. That's the message from Kinime Daniel, the helpline manager for ChildFund's 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain in Papua New Guinea.
“I am a survivor myself and having experienced domestic violence everyday, it's my passion to now help others come through it,” Kinime says.
“When we are providing counselling through 1-Tok, we are giving people hope and we are providing a lifeline."
1-Tok is a national toll-free helpline providing 24/7 counselling and support for people impacted by gender-based and domestic violence in Papua New Guinea. The helpline's newly released annual report shows over 11,000 calls have been received by the 1-Tok team in the last year.
The service is offered in three languages, Hiri Motu, Tok Pisin and English, by a team of 30, is open to anyone and covers 22 provinces including very rural areas.
ChildFund launched the helpline in 2015 and it is staffed by trained counsellors to deliver confidential counselling, information, safety plan, follow-up calls and referral services for survivors of family and sexual violence. They respond to callers seeking help on issues including intimate partner violence, family violence, safety problems, and child welfare, with calls coming in from children as young as 6 and men.
There was no similar service in Papua New Guinea previously. Kinime has been involved with the helpline since the beginning, she met with helpline staff in Aotearoa and has led the team in building strong relationships with local organisations including family service providers, the police, community leaders and churches. Callers know they can safely and confidentially contact 1-Tok.
“When I was trying to escape violence at home, I did safety plans for myself and I’d hide money and documents to help me escape, now I'm helping others to escape."
During COVID-19 call increased by 75% as stress levels, anxiety and distress soared. A lot of calls also come in from people who need mental health support including people who are suicidal.
With thanks to support from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Kiwi supporters, the helpline was able to increase to being a 24/7 service last year and continues to provide support and help for people impacted by gender-based and domestic violence.
The service runs in partnership with the national Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC).
A partnership has also been developed between the helpline and the National Research Institute in PNG with the data generated leading to local and government research, including on gender equity along with submissions, including on submissions on gender-based violence and child protection, to the National Parliamentary Group in Papua New Guinea.
Public campaigns in Papua New Guinea have been carried out to raise awareness about the problem of domestic and family violence and of the helpline including radio advertisements, text messages, media, events and the distribution of over stickers, wallet cards and brochures. Text message services with information about has led to over 4,000 calls.
Read more about the 1-Tok helpline.
ChildFund appeal: We need your support to help people living in violence
Violence against women, girls and children in Papua New Guinea is preventable and the1-Tok helpline is in unique community position to not only help survivors but also to contribute to local awareness and change around gender-based violence.
Initiatives like the 1-Tok helpline are essential to get victims out of violent situations. To ensure our work in helping children and families living with violence can continue, ChildFund is raising funds to help children who are facing violence in the home.
You can help us help children and families impacted by violence here.