19 Jul 2017

Fears about magnitude of family violence confirmed in Samoa

4:06 pm on 19 July 2017

Samoa's ombudsman says a year-long inquiry into domestic violence is at the half-way stage and information gathered so far reveals it is a major problem.

Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma

Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma Photo: RNZ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Maiava Iulai Toma said he was pleased with consultations with stakeholders from all sectors but most importantly with the Samoan public.

He said phase one of the inquiry was completed in May with 17 consultations encompassing families and villages across Samoa.

Maiava said during the consultations he came to realise that traditional institutions, such as the matai system, which is influential in regulating behaviour in villages, should be engaged.

"But then of course we have to really look at these institutions to see that they can truly provide solutions and that they're not a significant part of the problem," he said.

"So we have to look at those and to look at attitudes in there that may be getting them to hold back on these things. And we have to empower them to act but we need also to ensure that there are checks to guard against the abuse of power."

Maiava said the aim was to have the report finished and presented to parliament before the end of the year.