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Wednesday, 2 March 2022 - 15:13 WIB

LBH Papua receives 57 reports of sexual assault in 2021

Prison illustration photo. - pixabay.com

Prison illustration photo. - pixabay.com

Jayapura, Jubi – Novita Opki, a member of the Women’s and Children’s Team of the Civil and Political Division of the Papua Legal Aid Institute (LBH Papua), said that throughout 2021, her party received 57 allegations of violence against women and children. Of the 57 cases, 20 cases were online gender-based violence.

“The 57 cases we have assisted are varied. We provide consultation, as well as litigation and non-litigation advocacy,” Novita Opki told Jubi in Jayapura City on Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

Opki explained there was a trend towards increasing cases of violence against women and children online. “Such as the distribution of photos without the photo owner’s consent on social media or messaging services, as well as unsolicited messages with sexual nuance that attack women,” she said.

“After receiving the report, we immediately reported it to the Cyber division of the Papua Police,” Opki added.

However, Opki said, in some cases of sexual violence, the perpetrators were law enforcement officers, regional officials, and state civil servants.

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Perpetrators got impunity

There are many obstacles in advocating cases of violence against women and children in Papua and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

“If the perpetrators are people in power or have certain positions, it is usually difficult to bring the case to the court,” she said.

Opki said that if cases of violence against women and children involve officials, law enforcement officers often ask the case be resolved amicably. “There is a power relation between the perpetrator and the victim that the case is unable to be processed by law, even though the case is serious,” she said.

Opki also assessed that law enforcement officers in Papua did not yet have the perspective of victims in handling cases of violence against women and children. It also complicates efforts to bring perpetrators to justice.

“For example, if there is domestic violence, we usually take the case to the police but they say that it is a family matter and encourage amicable resolution. In fact, domestic violence is a crime. There are more than 20 cases in 2021,” said Opki.

She also said the LBH Papua had difficulty accompanying women who were wives of security forces. “There are police officers and soldiers who commit domestic violence against their children and wives, whether it’s physical violence or family neglect. There are several cases that we are still pushing, some have reached the courts but some others have been stuck because of the interest of [law enforcement officers] to protect each other,” Opki said.

KabarPapua.co on January 21 released a statement from the Head of Public Relations of the Papua Police, Sr. Comr. Ahmad Mustofa Kamal, saying that the Papua Police handled 221 allegations of violence against women and children throughout 2021.

“It consists of 54 cases of physical and psychological violence against children, 69 cases of rape, 23 cases of sexual abuse against children, 53 cases of abuse against women, four cases of beatings, six cases of neglect, and 12 cases of adultery. A total of 221 cases of violence against women and children were handled by Sub-Directorate IV of Youth, Children, and Women of the Directorate of General Criminal Investigation of the Papua Police,” said Kamal, as quoted from KabarPapua.co.

Kamal said the Papua Police was collaborating with the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection and the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) to provide assistance to women and children victims of violence. He said that the police also had a special service unit to handle cases of violence against women and children.

“I encourage the public to report cases of sexual violence they have experienced or have occurred in their neighborhood. The National Police has a Women and Children Service Unit (PPA) which specifically handles crimes of violence against women and children. Please don’t be afraid or hesitate to report,” he said. (*)

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo
Editor: Aryo Wisanggeni G

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