17 Oct 2007

Samoan NGOs note more reporting of sexual abuse

10:04 am on 17 October 2007

Non-governmental organisations in Samoa say more people are coming forward to report sexual abuse.

A high-profile sexual abuse case has just ended, with the leader of the Islamic faith in Samoa being found guilty of two charges of carnal knowledge.

Mapusaga o Aiga, or Family Haven, is an NGO working with victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

It reports that sexual abuse cases make up more than half of criminal court cases in Samoa.

The vice-president of Mapusaga o Aiga, Maiava Visekota Peteru says this shows a huge change in attitude.

"Definitely more people are reporting, more families are deciding not to cover these matters up and more people are recognising that these offenses are in fact crimes against the right of another person to live free of abuse."

Maiava Visekota Peteru says the government could be more widely effective in this area, if it worked closer with NGOs.