1 Jul 2010

Samoa group suspects unreported teachers' abuse

2:31 pm on 1 July 2010

An NGO in Samoa says it's not surprising the Education Ministry has only received two reports of teacher abuse of children since the end of last year, as the reporting of cases is fragmented.

The Samoa Victim Support Group has raised concerns about an increasing number of unreported cases, but the Ministry says it encourages teachers and parents to report such abuse.

The organisation, Mapusaga O Aiga, which helps abused women and children, says while the Ministry only received two reports, the hospital, courts and NGOs will have received others.

Its president, Frances Schuster, says some cases they've seen arose when children with disciplinary issues were sent over from New Zealand

"They will come up against the way that teachers here control classrooms and the way they just conduct lessons in the classrooms here, and then inevitably we do hear about assaults. But also just the everyday occurrences of a smack that's gone too far. Usually it does go to court and assault charges are laid."

Frances Schuster says reports of abuse need to be consolidated.