The Samoa Victim Support Group’s (S.V.S.G.) global meeting kicked off at the Orator Hotel yesterday.
Guided by the theme ‘Golden Hearts – Keeping Our Promise’, the meeting participants are assessing the Group’s work, challenges and achievements to paving the way forward.
It is the coming together of the S.V.S.G. family as part of its promise to keep the children, mothers, fathers, and families safe.
Most importantly, it is an opportunity to discuss how S.V.S.G. global can better help the work of S.V.S.G. here in Samoa, and sustain their work further.
S.V.S.G. Patron, Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau officially opened the event by acknowledging the support from all the sub-groups of S.V.S.G. around the world.
He said the gathering is critical as it is an opportunity to look at ways to better serve the community.
The Director of S.V.S.G. Auckland, Peseta Aati-Schuster, said they are delighted to be in Samoa to share their experiences with some of their colleagues.
Speaking about the abuse of women and children – including sexual abuse – she said records show that it is getting worse.
The problem is compounded by issues such as housing, poverty and social challenges.
“So as a community we need to look at our commitment in terms of cultural, church. We are not saying it’s a bad thing because it’s part of our culture,” she said.
“[But] we need to look at how much we can give and how much we can commit and our priorities, so it doesn’t come down to having no money to provide for our children because that’s another big factor to violence.”
Asked what improvement she has seen within the S.V.S.G. structure, Peseta said there have been lots. “We have seen the shelter and the nursery but the latest one is the Stopping Violence Against Women and Children programme,” she said.
Apart from presentations by the international sub-groups, the Board, the Executive and the Office on both the operations and financials, there will be speakers from the Judiciary, Civil Society and the Business Community working in partnership with S.V.S.G.
Chair of the S.V.S.G. Board, Georgina Lui says the gathering is a very important meeting.
“I welcome all the S.V.S.G. global family members from New Zealand, Australia and American Samoa. Together with S.V.S.G. here in Samoa, we look forward to a fruitful gathering of the Golden Hearts to Keep Our Promise.”