24 Nov 2016

Human Rights Day in Samoa to mark launch of domestic violence inquiry

8:13 pm on 24 November 2016

Samoa's Ombudsman is aiming to officially launch a Commission of Inquiry into domestic violence on this year's Human Rights Day.

Maiava Iulai Toma, who also heads Samoa's human rights office, said 10th December will mark the start of a year-long investigation into violence within the family.

Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma

Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma Photo: RNZ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Maiava said the inquiry's terms of reference have not fully been fleshed out but a key objective is how to best use existing institutions to combat and educate against violence.

He said it's no secret that violence is a problem.

"It is extensive and may even be fortified by attitudes that are embedded in our traditional communal society.

"Our courts and police and the Samoa victim support organisation and others are battling gallantly to keep up with the manifestations of domestic violence but the problem continues to grow," Maiava said.

Government figures show reported cases of domestic violence more than tripled from 2012 to 2015.

Maiava said by 2018 he aims to go to Parliament with a comprehensive understanding of domestic violence in Samoa and measures for countering it.