Improving the impact of state and non-state interventions in overcoming sorcery accusation related violence in PNG

Newspaper clippings on sorcery accusation related violence

Project leader(s)

Sorcery accusation related violence is seen as a growing problem in PNG and has attracted domestic and international calls for an effective government response. It is implicated in a range of negative developmental outcomes, including economic disempowerment, poor health, insecurity, persecution, and violence including torture and murder. What’s more, these negative outcomes impact disproportionately upon women and most acutely affect women who lack male protection and are consequently more vulnerable to sorcery accusations.

In response to calls for action to deal with the problem of sorcery accusation related violence, both the PNG government and a broad range of civil society, faith based and international organisations have started to put into place legislative reforms, projects and programs, but there has been an over reliance from the government on the preventative and deterrent effects of the state criminal justice system.

To combat this, the Department of Justice, together with a range of partner organisations, have developed a Sorcery National Action Plan (“SNAP”) which sets out a comprehensive and holistic response to the problem. The SNAP provides for the development of training packages for a wide range of service providers and local community governance structures, but at present there is not sufficient research to identify what types of training is needed and what is likely to be effective.

This research project will support PNG partners to address sorcery accusation related violence by developing and communicating a body of evidence regarding which interventions break the link between sorcery and violence and how they can best be supported. The project will be heavily action-research focussed as it monitors and critiques the implementation of SNAP and its associated interventions.

Interpretation of sorcery accusation related violence survivor

Tackling witchcraft related human rights violations

21 September 2017

RegNet researcher Miranda Forsyth speaks at UN event about witchcraft-related violence in the Asia-Pacific.



Dr Miranda Forsyth

Miranda Forsyth is an Associate Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) in the College of Asia and Pacific at ANU. Prior to coming to...

Dr Fiona Hukula

Fiona Hukula is a Senior Research Fellow & Program Leader of the Building Safer Communities Program at the Papua New Guinea National Research Institute.


Law, justice & human rights

RegNet is one of world’s leading centres for socio-legal research. This cluster aims to lead the development of transformative ideas in the fields of criminology and restorative justice; human rights and international law; legal pluralism; peacebuilding; the regulatory dimensions of international and domestic law; and rule of law.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet