25 Oct 2017

Number of alcohol-related crimes in Samoa reduced

4:29 pm on 25 October 2017

A senior judge in Samoa says alcohol-related offending has reduced since the opening of Samoa's Alcohol and Drug Court (ADC) in February last year.

Samoa's first female Supreme Court judge Mata Tuatagaloa. She comes to the Supreme Court after being a District Court judge.

Newly-appointed Samoa Supreme Court judge Mata Tuatagalaoa. Photo: Government of Samoa

Supreme Court judge Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa said alcohol-related cases had dropped from 61 percent of all cases in 2015 to 55 percent last year.

She said the concept of needing a "village to raise a child" was effective in helping offenders and the court process involved engaging the community.

"Before we accept anybody into the alcohol and drugs court, we hold a family group conference and that will enable the treatment team or the team to also vet the environment, find out that the environment is not high risk for the participant to live in. We also engage what we call community justice supervisors."

Justice Tuatagaloa said there were plans to extend the Alcohol and Drug Court to District Court level next year.