APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 19 OCTOBER 2017: The National Council of Churches in partnership is holding a special program this week to directly address the issue of violence against women and children in families. The programme is held in partnership with Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development and started in Savaii last week with two symposiums and is part of the National Council of Churches response to the growing issue of family violence in Samoa.
The symposiums aim to establish an inter-denominational gender based violence network that supports the guides the integration of gender-based violence messages in congregations. through this network, church leaders in Samoa will play an active part in identifying strategies that they can use to address violence in family especially against women and girls.
This follows the launch of the Family Safety Study Report in June this year. The study reported that 60% of women had experienced violence from their husband and children are the easiest target when it comes to family violence as they have less power in their household.
“The main purpose of this program is to respond to these disturbing results from the Family Safety Study and how the church leaders can address family violence. The ultimate goal of the program is to allow everyone the opportunity to seek ways to best reduce and eradicate family violence in our church communities,” according to the NCC Vice President, Susuga Iuli.
The National Council of Churches will be a partner in the MWCSD campaign on Ending Family Violence being launched in November. The campaign has four components: Zero Tolerance of violence, creating Safer Homes,Changing Lives by changing behaviour and an Our Responsibility work stream encouraging everyone in Samoa to play an active part and be accountable for reducing violence.
“It is important to dispel some myths about the causes of family violence and focus on changing attitudes towards how we treat each other, especial how we treat women and children,” says Fitiao Susan Faoagali, ACEO for Research, Policy and Planning at Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development.
The program is developed with the support of Samoa Women Shaping Development (SWSD) project within the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development and is funded by the Australian Government.
The programme was held at Falefa today and Sa’anapu and at Leauva’a and the To’oa Salamasina Hall tomorrow.