20 Sep 2017

Samoa national public inquiry into family violence begins

8:12 am on 20 September 2017

There is renewed hope that Samoa's national public inquiry into domestic violence which has begun this week will help find solutions to the problem.

The commission of inquiry is made up of five members chaired by the ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma who are hearing testimonies from victims and survivors.

A mother who is a survivor of domestic violence told the inquiry about the suffering she'd gone through with a man who is the father of her child.

She told her story of violent abuse and while the police did not offer any help she hoped this inquiry would find a way to help end domestic violence.

In his opening remarks, the inquiry chair and ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma called for unity amongst the Alii and Faipule or village councils, as well as churches.

"The time has come for the Samoan community our community to face squarely the fact that the Samoan home is not the safe place it is supposed to be, by virtue of the cultural and christian values we claim to cherish," he said.

"We hope in this national conversation to gain some understanding of what it is that we have been doing or are doing that has landed us in the fix that we are in.

Maiava Iulai Toma said as an enlightened Christian society Samoa must endeavour to zero in on things with meaningful strategies to rid ourselves of them.

Members of the Comission of Inquiry into family domestic violence in Samoa

Members of the Comission of Inquiry into family domestic violence in Samoa Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Tipi Autagavaia Tipi

Inquiry members includes the former Minister of the Ministry of Women and Social Development, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua who is the deputy chair, Tagaloatele Professor Peggy Fairbrain Dunlop, Meleisea Leasiolagi a Professor and Director for the Center of Samoan Studies at the National University of Samoa, and Falenaoti Mulitalo Kolotita June Ailuai Oloialii who is a member of Samoa's Law and Justice sector.