1 May 2012

American Samoa victims' advocate honoured

2:15 pm on 1 May 2012

An advocate for victims of domestic violence has been honoured by the American Samoa Bar Association.

Ipu Avegalio Lefiti has been presented with the first Arthur A. Morrow justice award for her advocacy for victims of crime.

The award is named after one of the longest serving chief justices in American Samoa, who created much of the jurisprudence that is the foundation for the territory's legal system.

Mrs Lefiti says as an advocate for the past ten years, she has observed that the hardest thing for victims to do is to speak the truth.

"Why was it hard to speak the truth? Because the offenders whose behaviours we were advocating against are our brothers, our sisters, our mothers, fathers, uncles, grandfathers - how do you speak against them. This island is so small we are all related one way or another. My biggest thanks goes to the God who gave me the courage and boldness to speak out against these crimes."