10 Dec 2018

Call for church to take lead in stopping domestic violence in Samoa

7:16 am on 10 December 2018

Samoa's Human Rights Institution says the church needs to take a leading role in stopping domestic violence.

Domestic violence

Photo: 123RF

The ombudsman and head of the institution, Maiava Iulai Toma, was responding to a statement from the National Council of Churches that increasing domestic violence was punishment for disobeying God.

Maiava said he understands the statement as Samoa is a "church-going" nation.

But he said church ministers need to remember the importantce of their words and follow them up with action.

"The churches, the faife'aus out in the village are very imporant. People listen to faife'aus. The pulpit is very important and of course their whole area of work is morals and attitudes which are very, very relevant and are important factors in addressing family violence.

"Their involvement at the village level is very important and we hope they will come good on that."

He also said church ministers need to return to their grassroots roles.

"Perhaps they are not doing what they used to do in the villages, the kind of activity that they carried out which alleviated this problem. The activities that kept them in touch with their parishoners and counsel them in how to relate to one another. That is one of the things that came out in our inquiry ."

Maiava Iulai Toma led the National Inquiry into Domestic Violence which concluded this year.

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