9 Dec 2015

Senior Samoa police officer investigated over violence speech

8:01 pm on 9 December 2015

Samoa's police commissioner has confirmed a senior inspector is being investigated following allegations of inappropriate comments about domestic violence.

Last month, a victim and survivor of domestic violence, Sina Retzlaff, said a senior police inspector gave a speech to launch the UN's '16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence' campaign.

She says the inspector told women to think carefully before reporting violence because it's a waste of paperwork if they later retract the complaint.

The commissioner, Egon Keil, says it goes against everything the police are trying to do.

"Totally goes against the grain of this organisation and what I'm trying to instil in this organisation. It's a backward way of thinking and I tell you that kind of behaviour, that kind of thinking is not tolerated here in this organisation and shouldn't be tolerated anywhere. So I take this very very seriously and as a matter of fact that officer is under investigation right now."

The investigation comes as a campaigner on domestic violence based in New Zealand says groups in Samoa need to have trained facilitators to help men change their behaviour.

Taliaoa Filipo Tipoai is the Chairman of the Samoa Victims Support Group Auckland, and has been running his own sessions for men in New Zealand for 35 years.

He says there have been many successes from his forum where men can talk freely and open up about themselves.

He says too often men blame their partner or their culture for their own anger issues and violence, but they need to realise they have a choice.

"Violence is nobody's culture, it's a matter of choice. Men need to do deal with their own problems. A lot of men say you know it's my wife... you know I always say to the men it's got nothing to do with that, everything, as far as the issue is concerned, it comes down to your choice."

The United Nations '16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence' finishes tomorrow.