Key findings from a recent evaluation of a Parenting for Childhood Development (P4CD) program highlight a reduction in family violence, abuse and neglect of children in communities exposed to this program.
The evaluation, generously supported by UNICEF Australia, found that parents exposed to the P4CD program, were empowered to apply positive child rearing parenting practices and invested time to enhance child-parent relationships that helped create safe spaces for children.
An estimated 35,000 children aged between 3 and 10 have been positively impacted by this intervention that has reached over 8,700 parents in six provinces in the country since UNICEF PNG, working in partnership with the Government and implementing partners, rolled out the program in 2016.
While a scale up of this program is currently supported by the European Union – United Nations Spotlight Initiative to End Violence against Women and Girls in PNG, the evaluation findings has provided needed evidence to further scale up the program across the country, ensuring full ownership of the Government over the program and further improving its content to end violence against children and women as well as help build positive relations within the family.
A significant change observed during the evaluation was among fathers who reported strong child-parent relations with 73 per cent of them confirming that they spend more time with their children, playing games with them, and helping them to behave the right way.
“These findings are significant as they indicate a change in the mindsets of parents about raising their children in a loving and caring way which is crucial to the holistic development and overall well-being of a child,” said Claudes Kamenga, , UNICEF Representative.
A large majority of parents who benefited from the program (76 percent) no longer hit their children; 45 percent no longer curse or swear at them; and 63 percent do not engage in neglectful behaviors such as leaving the child alone or letting the child go hungry.
Although the P4CD program was not specifically designed to address intimate partner violence, over 58 percent of female spouses reported a reduction in violence inflicted on them by their husbands while 62 percent of females and 71 percent of males confirmed that they talk through their disagreements without using violence.
The P4CD program was developed in 2016 by UNICEF PNG with the support of the Menzies School of Health Research at the Darwin University in Australia. UNICEF PNG commissioned the evaluation that was independently carried out by evaluation firm, Stratman.