Family violence inquiry to hear testimonies from survivors
Graphic: Woman holds candle
Samoa’s Office of the Ombudsman has invited survivors of family violence to share their stories as part of the first national inquiry into the issue.
Samoa's Office of the Ombudsman has invited survivors of family violence to come forward and share their stories as part of the country's first national inquiry into the issue.
Perpetrators, family members and support providers have also been asked to contribute their views and experiences.
"The objective of the process is to understand, not to judge," Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma said.
"We need to hear from all those involved in the cycle of violence: victims, perpetrators and those who turn a blind eye to violence."
The inquiry team will work with government service providers and NGOs to ensure that people can share their stories in a safe and secure environment.
This could either be at a public hearing or in a closed session, where the person's identity is kept confidential both when they give evidence and where their story is included in the inquiry report.
We need to explore why people do what they do so that we can better understand the problem here in Samoa.
Graphic: Women participate in a community consultation of the national inquiry
The Family Violence Inquiry was launched on 10 December 2016. Since then the Ombudsman's Office has carried out consultations with a broad range of NGOs, government ministries, international partners and community bodies.
In addition, 17 community-level consultations have been held throughout the country. These consultations have collected the insights of different groups within the village setting, including church representatives, village representatives, village councils and local people.
Their participation proved invaluable in confirming the magnitude of family violence in Samoa, as well as the deeply held perceptions and attitudes that underpin it. Views were also gathered on the extent to which existing programs and services are able to address the problem.
The inquiry is based on the understanding that practical and viable suggestions to end family violence will come from survivors and those who have a direct influence on the lives of Samoan families.
The APF has provided financial and technical assistance to support the Ombudsman undertake this important national inquiry, including providing practical training for the inquiry team members.
Date: 21 July 2017
- Woman holds candle - Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa
- Women participate in a community consultation of the national inquiry - Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa