Samoa develops family violence prevention campaign; Tonga trials helpline

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The Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development in Samoa is launching a campaign to address family violence.

The campaign has four themes: Zero Tolerance of violence; creating Safer Homes; Changing Lives by changing behaviour; and Our Responsibility to encourage everyone in Samoa to play an active part and be accountable for reducing violence.

The launch of the campaign follows the recently released report on the 2017 Samoa Family Safety Study. The study looked at domestic and gender-based violence in Samoa, including how existing legislations, programmes and services have impacted the problem. The study found that women and children experienced high rates of violence.

The CEO of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Fuimapuao Beth Onesemo said "The study documented alarming statistics that we need to urgently address and the campaign is in line with the report recommendations of strengthening the family unit, promoting family safety and supporting village councils to intervene in incidences of family violence," reported the Samoa Observer.

The campaign strategy was developed with support from New Zealand's Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with training assistance from Wellington-based communications agency Pasifika Network. Ministry officials from Samoa attended a training in September to learn about social marketing and develop the campaign.

The Pasefika Proud press release noted that their work helped inspire the campaign: "It was beneficial taking some of the lessons learned from the Pasefika Proud Campaign in New Zealand and showcasing them in Samoa," said Pasifika Network Director Samson Samasoni.

Tongan helpline trial

The women and children's crisis centre in Tonga is trialling a 24 hour helpline for victims of family violence. The helpline trial, which is funded by UN Women, will be launched on 5 December 2017 and will run until February. Media reported that if successful, funding is available to support the service for three years from March 2018.

Updated: The Tongan government has announced a centre will open next year to provide legal aid and advice to survivors of family violence in Nuku'alofa.

Related news

Earlier this year, Samoa's Ombudsman launched an inquiry into family violence and recently held public hearings. Survivor and researcher of intimate partner violence Tuiloma Sina Retzlaff presented research and recommendations at one of the hearings. 

In August, The United Nations 'Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice' made its first official visit to Samoa.

In New Zealand, Pasefika Proud has been organising ethnic specific Family Violence Training Programmes throughout the year. Earlier in 2017, it launched an online Pacific service directory.

Related media

Legal aid planned for Tongan family violence victims, Radio NZ, 08.12.2017

New centre for Tongan women experiencing violence, Radio NZ, 07.12.2017

Samoa judge says smacking children encourages more violence, Radio NZ, 06.12.2017

Partnerships critical in Pacific Approaches of Activism, Press Release: Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Scoop, 06.12.2017

Gender inequality at the heart of Pacific violence pandemic, Radio NZ, 29.11.2017

Fiji women waiting more than two years to report violence, Radio NZ, 23.11.2017

Fiji women battle barriers to justice, Radio NZ, 23.11.2017

Pacific Police learn dynamics of violence against women, Press Release: Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, Scoop, 21.11.2017

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