11 Sep 2018

Samoa govt can't combat violence alone, says ombudsman

8:24 pm on 11 September 2018

Samoa's ombudsman says government can't combat domestic violence alone.

Maiava Iulai Toma's comment comes as a major new report seeks to spark a government-led effort to counter the country's domestic violence problem.

Domestic violence

Photo: 123RF

According to Maiava, despite efforts of government and non-government agencies, violence in the country has been getting worse.

He said the country's courts had been very innovative in dealing with the issue, but that more needed to be done.

Maiava heads Samoa's human rights office which was prompted last year to convene a national inquiry into the issue. The year-long inquiry culminates in a report due out tomorrow.

Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma

Ombudsman Maiava Iulai Toma Photo: RNZ Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Maiava said he hoped the report would prompt action that was co-ordinated by government agencies but which didn't have to be implemented by them alone.

"It doesn't have to be a problem like in many countries that is attacked by the government alone," Maiava said.

"We have very strong traditional authorities in the rural areas, in the villages, that can play a very important and effective role in this."

He said the church was the other main institution Samoan people would look to for efforts to counter the problem of domestic violence.

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

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