Samoa’s NHRI launches national inquiry on family violence
Graphic: Ombudsman, staff and partners by the national inquiry banner
The inquiry will seek to identify the factors contributing to family violence, as well as ways to improve support for those affected.
A ground breaking national inquiry by Samoa's national human rights institution (NHRI) will seek to identify the factors contributing to the widespread incidence of family violence in the Pacific island nation, as well as ways to improve support for the women and children affected.
The first-ever national inquiry by the Office of the Ombudsman was launched on 10 December 2016 - Human Rights Day - at a special ceremony where Samoa's Prime Minister gave the keynote address.
The APF was represented at the launch by Pip Dargan, Deputy Director and Gender Focal Point.
Gender equality is a priority for the APF. That’s why the APF has offered financial and technical assistance to support the Ombudsman undertake this important national inquiry, including training for the NHRI’s staff.
The issue of family violence was highlighted in the Ombudsman's first annual State of Human Rights Report in 2015, which found disturbingly high levels of violence and abuse, including sexual abuse of children.
The report also found that a notable percentage of the population considered family violence to be an acceptable cultural norm.
"Such violence is a human rights violation affecting our women, young girls and children," said the Ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma.
"We hope the national inquiry will stimulate a collective conversation and discussion at every level of our society on ways that will contribute to the fight against family violence in Samoa."
See more photos from the Human Rights Day celebrations and the launch of the national inquiry into family violence.
The national inquiry will run throughout 2017 and gather evidence through:
- Consultations with government and non-government agencies, as well as international organisations, working on issues related to family violence
- Community consultations in the major villages of Upolu, Savaii, Manono and Apolima
- Public hearings, where survivors and others can share their experiences
- Written submissions from interested groups and individuals.
The Ombudsman will be assisted by three external Inquiry Commissioners with long standing expertise in family violence and violence against women and girls.
The final report will draw on the evidence it collects to make findings and form recommendations to counter the prevailing attitudes to family violence and to support those agencies and service providers working with victims and perpetrators.
Date: 13 January 2017
- Ombudsman, staff and partners by the national inquiry banner - Office of the Ombudsman of Samoa
- Samoa's Prime Minister talks at the national inquiry launch - Ombudsman of Samoa