BY Tu’u’u Pelepesite
APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 09 DECEMBER 2016: A former Cabinet Minister and two academics have been announced to make the Commission for the first national public inquiry on family violence in Samoa.
The Inquiry will be led by the Ombudsman and National Human Rights Institution, Maiava Iulai Toma and will sit throughout 2017. Its work will combine public hearings, written submissions, data research and stakeholder and community consultations in gathering information to form its report to be delivered by 2018.
The Commissioners include Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, the former Minister of the Ministry of Women and Social Development; Professor Tagaloatele Peggy Dunlop, Professor of Pacific Studies, Auckland University of Technology and Leasiolagi Dr. Malama Meleisea, Director of the Centre for Samoan Studies, National University of Samoa.
Launched yesterday during the celebration of the Human Rights Day, the inquiry is said to be the first of its type to be conducted by a Pacific Island country. But “it’s a process that has been used to great success by many other countries on a range of topics worldwide.”
Why Family Violence?
The inquiry has been prompted by the growing incidence of cases of abuse and violence against women as documented by the cases brought to the Samoa Victim Support Group and complaints that have gone before the court.
“Media reports, research statistics available of domestic violence show a common pattern that domestic violence is prevalent and widespread despite recent efforts to establish counter the problem. Further, there is a concern and international pressure to address domestic violence especially with regards to women, girls and children. These reasons have prompted the Ombudsman to make Family Violence the focus of the first Samoa Inquiry,” says the Ombudsman.